Kendo and Protection

(CW: allusions to parental transphobia) Narumi meets Millie practicing kendo in the park. Once again, she makes a new friend who's willing to protect her and help her out with Manako.

Date: 2018-11-13
Pose Count: 40
Narumi Nendai 2018-11-13 18:14:31 100213
Narum has a reputation at school for being gloomy, and it's easy to see why. She just carries an atmosphere of gloominess around herself wherever she goes. There's nothing supernatural going on there, she's just like that.

It's a sunny day after school, albeit a bit on the chilly side, and she's wearing a midnight blue jacket over a striped blue dress as she walks through the park, just to clear her mind and get a little bit of exercise. There's something furtive about her attitude, however; she keeps looking around, especially towards the lower branches of the trees, as if she expects to see something unpleasant.
Millie White 2018-11-13 18:43:45 100214
Ever since she had met Miho at the park, Millie had been coming back every few days or so. Sometimes it was just to take a walk to clear her head, other times she would actually run laps or practice her sword forms away from too many prying eyes. Today was one of those days, the tall foreigner taking a spot a little ways away from the large pond. The Canuck was dressed as if it weren't cold at all. In fact, she had removed her button down shirt to reveal the t-shirt beneath, a kendo Shinai held in both hands.

Her movements were slow but deliberate, as if she were concentrating on learning the movements instead of putting power behind her strikes. One, two, three strikes in quick succession were made, making sure the bow string of the shinai was always on top. She didn't want to hit anyone with the 'back of the blade' after all. Each strike drew a powerful shout from her, one that rumbled from her chest like thunder.

"MEN! DO! KOTE!" A strike to the head, the body, and the wrist. Millie was new to Kendo but she practiced like someone who had held a sword all her life, albeit a tad awkwardly. Her stance was a bit off for Kendo, but it looked like it might be a modified stance. Curious. The Canadian paused to wipe some sweat from her brow and to take a long swig of water from a water bottle. Carefully and a bit consciously she looked around, inwardly hoping that she was far enough away that she wouldn't be disturbing people with her shouting.
Narumi Nendai 2018-11-13 18:50:09 100215
Narumi isn't disturbed by the shouting. In fact, it makes her curious.

She makes her way over to where Millie is practicing. The way she comes out from behind a tree might make it look as if she'd been sneaking. "Oh, right, kendo," she murmurs. She goes to sit down a dozen or so meters away, and watches Millie with interest. And now she's looking a little less gloomy, too.
Millie White 2018-11-13 19:12:35 100216
Thankfully she didn't see anyone who looked upset at her shouting, so she continued. Millie took up the proper posture once more, focusing on her breathing. The strikes began again, each accompanied by a forceful shout of the strike zone at the moment of 'impact'. She tried to time it as close to the moment of impact as she could, anyway. It wouldn't help her if she shouted it too early and gave her opponent the advantage of foresight.

Her strikes came quickly and she began to incorporate movement, but they weren't Kendo steps. It almost looked like a dance as she incorporated swift turns, back steps, and lunges, but her focus was always in front of her. Millie lunged forward with one final strike, the shout exploding from her like a roar.

"TSUKI!" Panting, wooden blade extended, movement paused and sweat dripping from her forehead, Millie suddenly froze. Her movement had brought her a little ways away from her start point, and she now found herself roughly five meters away from and facing a young woman with blue hair and beautiful cobalt eyes. Had she... had she always been there?! Was she watching her? The tips of Millie's ears immediately seared crimson with embarrassment and she lowered her shinai.

"S-Sorry! I didn't know anyone was here." She stammered in slow Japanese. Her brows furrowed in concern. "Did I disturb you? Was I too loud?" Maybe she should have practiced in a gym or something...
Narumi Nendai 2018-11-13 19:18:59 100217
Narumi blinks! "Oh! Um, no, I was just watching for the last couple of minutes," she says. "I, uh, I sort of ... Well, I had a passing interest in Kendo and stuff, um, a while ago?" She manages a faint smile. It looks kind of lonely under the gloom. "You, uh, you look like you're good at it, though!"

... Her own face starts turning reddish as well. "Um. My name is Narumi Nendai," she adds awkwardly.
Millie White 2018-11-13 19:35:32 100218
Good at it? The red in her ears didn't seem to be disappearing at all and she slowly lowered the wooden blade with an embarrassed expression on her face. She wasn't good at Kendo, far from it. She was new, she just had prior sword experience, that was all. In fact, mixing the styles like she had been doing before fully understanding Kendo was a bad idea to begin with.

There was a reddish hue on the girl's face as she introduced herself as Narumi Nendai, and Millie couldn't help but pause and look into her eyes. Something seemed... off. In general Millie was pretty empathetic, and there was something in the other's eyes that she didn't like. A bashful but warm smile appeared on her face.

"I uh.. I'm new to Kendo, but I know other sword forms, that's all." She explained before realizing how unsightly she must look. Quickly the Canuck brushed the sweat from her face and ran a hand through her hair to tame it before offering Narumi a bow. "It's nice to meet you, Nendai-san. I'm Millie White." She paused, thinking back to what Narumi had said before. "A passing interest? It's a good way to stay in shape, that's for sure." She offered, noticing how unhelpful that sounded.
Narumi Nendai 2018-11-13 19:43:19 100220
Narumi's blush deepens as Millie seems to gaze into her eyes for a second! She leans back slightly. "Oh, um, multiple sword forms? That's cool!" she says, bashfulness taking over the loneliness that was there a moment ago. It's quite possible she misinterpreted what that look was about. "Nice to meet you too, White ... san? Uh, that's your family name, right?" She's being a bit blunt there. "Oh, well, um, yeah. I don't do exercise-exercise all that much, I just ... go for walks and things."
Millie White 2018-11-13 19:56:36 100221
When Narumi leaned back, Millie realized she might be making the other girl uncomfortable. Sometimes she had a problem with coming off as forceful or intense, and she was trying to work on that. The foreigner cleared her throat awkwardly and looked away, rubbing the back of her neck sheepishly.

"Er, yeah, White is my family name." She confirmed, seemingly unconcerned with the bluntness of the question. It was valid given the differences in their cultures' naming conventions. When Narumi mentioned that she didn't exercise but went for walks, Millie nodded and offered a small non-judgmental smile.

"Well, if you're looking to get into something that will help you keep your body and soul strong, Kendo is a good place to start." People practiced Kendo for a whole plethora of reasons from tradition to wanting to be cool like a samurai. Of course, she trained in Kendo to supplement the sword skills she already knew, but it was also to keep her body in shape for youma attacks. Millie's mind wandered back to the Panther youma and her gaze could not meet Narumi's. Her expression shifted ever so slightly and became a bit distant, like she was lost in a thought that might not be too pleasant.
Narumi Nendai 2018-11-13 20:04:21 100222
Narumi looks slightly relieved at not having her personal space invaded anymore. "Yeah okay," she says, before she gets to her feet and gives a faintly stiff bow. She gets that lonely smile again. "I mean. I tried to get into it, my mom sort of ... pushed me, wanted me to get into something, uh ..." More manly. Her smile vanishes. "-- w-well, I mean, it doesn't matter anymore, she eased off eventually."

She frowns as Millie seems to get ... distracted. Narumi isn't the most observant person in the world, and she's utterly incapable of recognizing guile, but ... "Are you ...?" She hesitates, then closes her mouth in case she's misread things here.
Millie White 2018-11-13 20:16:54 100223
Even distracted, Millie noticed. Something about Narumi's smile didn't quite reach her cobalt gaze, and it left Millie with an uncomfortably sad feeling in her gut. When Narumi explained that it had been her mother's idea and that she had actually been pushed, Millie's features immediately became concerned. Now she was a bit confused. Did Narumi actually have a passing interest in Kendo, or had it all been her mother's idea? Either way, it seemed to make Narumi uncomfortable even though she claimed her mother had eased off. She was filled with a sense of wanting to do something to brighten Narumi's smile, but Millie didn't know what she could do. She almost missed it when Narumi spoke again.

"Am I...?" She mumbled before realizing what Narumi must mean. Immediately, as if struck by lightning, Millie was standing up straight and she put on a smile. It was similar to her others, but this one was... a bit strained. "Oh, me? Nothing to worry about, I'm fine!" She said maybe a bit too quickly, waving her hands in front of her. After a few moments, her hands dropped to her sides and her expression had changed. Now she was looking directly into Narumi's eyes, her brows lifted slightly in concern. "...Are you?" Something about that smile...
Narumi Nendai 2018-11-13 20:22:20 100224
Narumi shrugs. "Well, I mean, it was kind of interesting to watch ... but as for doing it, it kinda ..."

She blinks at Millie's sudden reversal. She's bad at detecting guile, and even she thinks that reaction was kind of suspect. "... What's ... Okay, what's really wrong?" she says, right before Millie starts gazing into her eyes again and elicits another blush! "... I-I mean, uh ..."
Millie White 2018-11-13 20:34:56 100225
"N-Nothing's wrong, I just..." Millie let out a tired sigh and swiped a hand through her hair again. Okay Millie, you've gone and made the situation awkward, she mused at herself. She could either play it off and never know why Narumi's smile bothered her, or she could suck it up and be her blunt but caring self. Why was talking to people so hard?! Her gaze fell to the side, anywhere but Narumi's face.

"Your smile." She said quietly, making sure no one passing by could hear them. "It.. feels sad. I just wanted to make sure you were okay, Nendai-san, honest. I'm sorry I made this weird. I'll back off since I'm making you uncomfortable." Stupid Millie, stupid stupid Millie she scolded herself as she took a step back. Narumi probably thought she was some weirdo, and now that Millie thought about it, wasn't she? She had just met this person and here she was telling her that what, her smile was sad? What an idiot Millie was...
Narumi Nendai 2018-11-13 20:43:46 100226
Aaaaand then Narumi goes completely red-faced. "Oh. Uh. Huh. I ..." She shrugs. "Yeah I dunno, I just ... find it really hard to make friends with people in the -- I mean, uh." She shrugs uncertainly. "Well, it's just ... like ... Everyone says I'm gloomy and blunt and prickly, basically." She isn't ready to admit to Millie that she doesn't know how girls chat with each other.

She tries to meet Millie's gaze. "But, um ..." That lonely smile appears again, but this time it isn't quite as lonely. "I ... don't mind that you're worried about me, though!" Narumi's approach to worries about putting her foot in her mouth is to just plow forward without really worrying about what she's saying, which probably accounts for the 'blunt and prickly' part of her reputation.
Millie White 2018-11-13 21:01:35 100227
Narumi sounded flustered, and Millie internally winced. It was likely that she had just ruined a potential friendship and her shoulders slumped almost unnoticeably. Honestly she should be used to this by now. For as gentle and kind as people claimed she was, she often found herself alone. Someone in her past had used the term 'intense' and it seemed fitting to her. Millie was already making plans to grab her things and go home when Narumi spoke up again.

This time her voice was lighter, and Millie looked up. Narumi was trying to meet her gaze, and when cobalt met emerald, the darkness of her own self-depreciating thoughts cleared from her eyes. "You... You don't?" She was actually surprised. Usually people were weirded out that a complete stranger was worried about them, and excused themselves. Her jaw was a little slack, almost like she had expected Narumi to shout at her instead. "I mean... you don't think I'm...that I'm a weirdo?" Her voice was surprisingly small for someone as tall and intimidating as Millie.
Narumi Nendai 2018-11-13 21:33:57 100228
Narumi shakes her head and smiles. "Weirdo, schmeirdo," she says. "I mean, uh, first of all, I'm just happy enough that you aren't, like, scared away by my weirdness! You're gonna have to just sort of ... work really hard to out-weird me, White-san." She shakes her head, trying to angle towards flippancy. "I'm just this weird gloomy girl, one of my only friends is a vamp--"

And then she freezes up, eyes wide. Crap, she almost gave it away! "-- uh. I ... d-didn't say anything there!" she stammers.

... which is the opposite of successfully hiding it.
Millie White 2018-11-13 21:48:14 100229
There it was! The moment Narumi smiled, Millie's own face lit up. The loneliness from before had abated if only somewhat, and Narumi's smile was brilliant. If she had known just being her overprotective weirdo self would help, she would have started with that! The Canuck beamed and was about to tell Narumi that she didn't think she was weird at all, but she froze when Narumi stopped mid-sentence.

Vampire. Was she about to say Vampire? Of course she wasn't, she could have been trying to say any number of things like... a vampire romance novelist, or uh... Okay yeah, not a lot of words started with Vamp that didn't finish with -ire. Her mind flashed back to her meeting with Akari. Hadn't she mentioned that her old boss was a Vampire? Millie's expression was a mixture somewhere between surprise and trying to hide her emotions.

"....Vampire?" She asked, her voice almost a whisper.
Narumi Nendai 2018-11-13 21:52:33 100230
Narumi only notices the surprise. That said, she's even worse at hiding what she's feeling. "Y-- no! I mean, uh ... No, it's ... I was ... I mean ... I ... d-don't know what I was going to say there, actually! Why are -- wait, no, that came out wrong ..." She takes half a step back from Millie. She clearly has absolutely no idea where to move the conversation from here.
Millie White 2018-11-13 21:58:48 100231
That had been the wrong thing to say because Narumi became even more agitated. She stumbled over her words, going in circles in her sentences. When she takes a step back, something clicks in Millie's mind. She's panicking, she thought. Why would she be panicking? Unless.... no, there was no way she could just keep running into magic folk like this, right? That would be crazy! Yet as she looked at Narumi looking so panicked, she knew what she had to do.

"Whoa, hey, easy now." She soothed, her lower toned voice calm and gentle. She made no move to come closer to Narumi because that could make it worse. Instead, a soft smile appeared on her face as she tried to meet Narumi's gaze. "I believe you, Nendai-san."
Narumi Nendai 2018-11-13 22:04:14 100232
Narumi freezes up for a second. And then she deflates, and sighs. "See, I don't have a freaking clue how to figure out if someone else already knows about magic," she says, "and I dunno if I want to just ... abuse the fact that everyone forgets, if they aren't ... uh ... in-the-know, or magical, or whatever."

She shakes her head. "Yes. I know a vampire. Named Lacrima-san. Her and her unicorn girlfriend, Ariel-san. I, um, met them originally in the dream world, where I fight nightmares as, basically as a sort of magical girl princess?" She looks up at Millie. "But, um, I've also been to their house in Tokyo. So ... yeah."
Millie White 2018-11-13 22:14:08 100233
It felt like a huge weight had been lifted from her shoulders. So Narumi WAS in the know? Oh thank goodness! Millie actually let out a happy sigh. Okay... now that she knew, this would be easier, right? She kept the smile on her face as she listened, but when Lacrima's name came up her eyes flew wide once more.

Lacrima? Really?! As in Akari's Lacrima? Granted, she didn't reckon there could BE too many vampires in Tokyo, but she was new to this whole magic stuff. There could be lots of them, couldn't there? The fact that they were talking about the same Vampire could statistically be either impossible or extremely likely, and she had no way of knowing....wait. Unicorn Girlfriend? If ever there was a time where she felt she fell into some cartoon fanfic, it was now. A Vampire dating a Unicorn? She clearly had a lot to learn about the world of magic.

"Lacrima-san? I know of her through a friend, but I haven't met her yet." Millie says matter-of-factly, the smile returning to her face. She said 'yet' because she had made a promise to Akari to protect Lacrima, so they would likely meet eventually. "A Magical Girl Princess sounds amazing, and you say you fight nightmares? Wow, Nendai-san, I bet you're incredible in a fight!" Millie almost sounded excited. It was always fun to theorize about the magic abilities of new people she had met.
Narumi Nendai 2018-11-13 22:22:05 100234
Narumi shrugs. It looks like she's starting to relax again. "Well, basically ... I learned how to lucid dream -- that's when you can, like, control your dreams -- because of ..." She doesn't want to bring up her unhappy-until-recently home-life. "... stuff. So I made myself a sort of princess in my dreams, it's more just a costume than anything else. And then, uh, one night, nightmares attacked me." She shrugs. "And I figured out I could use fight using lucid-dreaming ... powers, basically." She grimaces. "So basically, I need to be asleep in order to fight stuff."

She peers at Millie. "So, uh ... do you have magical powers? Or are you just ... Do you just know someone who's magical, and it's impossible to just forget? Because, uh, apparently people forget about magic, Lacrima-san told me about that, and my mom suddenly remembered a magical thing from when she was fourteen thirty years ago when Lacrima-san described it to her."
Millie White 2018-11-13 22:39:07 100235
The surprise in her face grew to awe. Narumi gained magical powers by dreaming that she was a Princess? And when the Nightmares attacked, she used her lucid dreaming to FIGHT BACK? Millie's smile grew wider by the second, lopsided and genuine. Narumi really was something else.

"That sounds amazing, Nendai-san! I bet those Nightmares didn't stand a chance against you." When the question of her own magical experience came up, she blinked. The Canadian had almost forgotten, she was so wrapped up in Narumi's tale. Millie looked around to make sure no one was around listening to them.

"Oh! Uh... well, I'm apparently what's called a Pretty Cure. I've been one for a little over a year, but didn't really figure it out until like... last week. It's uh.. It's been a long week, let's say." She offered a smile that was equal parts amused and equal parts strained.
Narumi Nendai 2018-11-13 22:49:35 100236
Narumi smiles nervously and shrugs. "I, I dunno if I'm that great," she says. "There's other people who're way better than all that stuff than I am, who've been doing it way longer." She hesitates. "Though ... Lacrima-san had some difficulty, since she's made of darkness, and nightmares are also made of darkness." This shouldn't be anything new from what Millie has heard before ...

She blinks. "A 'Pretty Cure'?" she says. "... Huh. Haven't heard of Pretty Cures before." It seems that in some respects, she's just as new as Millie. "What are they like? I mean ... what's your stuff like?"
Millie White 2018-11-13 23:08:15 100237
What was a Pretty Cure? Her ear tips returned to the crimson colour they were before. That was... well, that was a good question! One that Millie didn't really have the answer to... which sounds bad because she was a Cure, after all.

"Oh Cures? We're uh..." She scratched the back of her head. "I don't really know much myself." She admitted with an apologetic smile. "I know that we are given our powers by Blue-sama, and I think he might be a God? I haven't met him yet, but I'm working on it. I think each Cure gets different powers. I mean, they're the same source and likely do some of the same things, but I think everyone has their own theme." That was what she had gleaned anyway. Why else would they have names like Gull, Tide, and Shield? Otherwise they could just be named Cure. Wait, now that she thought about it, that could get confusing. She shook her head gently to clear her thoughts and get back on track.

"As for me, I get a shield. It can... well, it's a shield so it can block stuff. It can also shoot purifying lasers, I think? I mean I think they're lasers. It might be hardlight?" She forgot to mention that it also gives her increased speed, strength, and durability, but she was doing her best.
Narumi Nendai 2018-11-13 23:15:32 100238
Narumi nods slowly. "A god, huh?" she says softly. "Wow. I mean ... I guess there must be more types of magical girls than I thought there were!" She peers at Millie, as if looking for her shield. "Is there even a difference between 'lasers' and 'hard light'?"

She looks up at Millie. "Do you have some kind of, I dunno, title or whatever? Like ... I helped someone called Magical Girl Clotho fight a weird ghostly-dream-nightmare-person called Icela near here." Beat. "... I don't really have one," she adds. "Maybe 'Dream Princess Narumi', I guess?"
Millie White 2018-11-13 23:51:43 100239
Title? Oh, her name! Gosh, she was really bad at this! "I'm Cure Shield. Kind of a dumb name, I know, but at least it fits, right? I didn't choose it, it was on the cards when I transformed." She said awkwardly with a kind smile. "As for the difference between lasers and hardlight, hardlight is solid and lasers aren't? I think? Science isn't my strong suit." She let out a raspy chuckle. As much as she loved science, she wasn't great at it. Mostly because of numbers. The only subject she was worse at was math for... obvious reasons. When Narumi mentioned what her name could be, Millie smiled gently, a warm look in her emerald eyes.

"Dream Princess Narumi is a beautiful name. I think it suits you."
Narumi Nendai 2018-11-13 23:54:35 100240
Narumi smiles back up at Millie. And hey, that loneliness seems to be mostly gone, too! In its place is a faint blush. "I mean, 'Cure Shield' sounds pretty straightforward," she says. "And I mean so is 'Dream Princess Narumi', basically." She taps her chin thoughtfully. "I wonder if I could use 'hard light' in one of my own attacks," she murmurs.

Then she looks up at Millie and frowns. Should she mention the business with Manako? She looks like she isn't sure whether to bring it up at all.
Millie White 2018-11-14 00:25:11 100241
Narumi was correct. Both names were technically factual. "Well yeah, but I got named after an over sized dinner plate and YOU get to be an awesome DREAM PRINCESS." All things considered, Narumi got the way cooler name. The loneliness in Narumi's smile had almost disappeared, and the cold feeling in her gut was starting to dissipate. Then Narumi began to frown. Had... she said anything wrong? Millie's brows knitted together in worry.

"Nendai-san, what's wrong?" If she HAD said something wrong, she had to make sure she fixed it. If it wasn't her, she was still going to try to fix it. Typical Millie.
Narumi Nendai 2018-11-14 00:34:39 100242
Narumi smiles bashfully, shrugging a bit ...

And then she blinks, and sighs. "Okay," she says. "This story is kind of complicated, but ... I might have powers in the waking world, but I don't know if they're good or not."

She takes a deep breath. "I'm ... transgender, and a nightmare named Maboroshi no Manako --" (meaning 'Phantasmal Eyes') "-- tricked me into making a deal where she gave me a 'female body' and fixed up my paperwork with my real name, in exchange for terms which basically let her possess me, and somehow she can move freely into the waking world and has been causing trouble and we don't actually know what she wants except that she works for a 'Prince of Nightmares.' Lacrima-san sort of reached out to her and tried to convince her to stop, but I haven't heard from Manako-chan since then and I dunno what's gonna happen next."
Millie White 2018-11-14 00:46:23 100243
Oh. Well. That was a lot to take in at once. Millie's expressions changed in quick succession from surprise, to concern, to what looked like anger, and then back to concern. This Maboroshi no Manako sounded like bad news and, even though she hadn't known Narumi long, she was ANGRY that the Nightmare had tricked her friend during a vulnerable time. How DARE that creature take advantage of Narumi! The Canadian was pulling out her cellphone, since she didn't have a fancy Cure Phone yet, and opened her contacts.

"Nendai-san, this is cell number. If this... Maboroshi no Manako shows up and starts giving you trouble, I want you to call me right away, alright? I'll come running no matter where I am." She rattled off her number to Narumi. Her expression was gentle but serious. Millie didn't mention anything about the Transgender part, but it was clear that she was treating Narumi the exact same way she had before she knew. Narumi was Narumi, and that was all there was to it.
Narumi Nendai 2018-11-14 00:53:44 100244
Narumi blinks in surprise. "Um ... okay," she says uncertainly, and she gets out her own phone and inputs Millie's phone number. "Got it. I mean ... Manako-chan has never caused trouble near me, except during the time when she just ... made me not able to tell anyone about her." This likely won't help Millie's opinion of Manako. "But ... if I actually see her, then, then you'll be the first to know."

She grins weakly up at her. "Honestly," she says, and shakes her head. "You really have, like ... I dunno, I've read manga and things where there were characters who were obviously like 'oh I'd better be a hero' whenever that kind of stuff happened, and I kind of think you're starting to sound like that kind of character."

She pauses. "I guess real-life magical girls must be just kind of like that, I guess?" She shakes her head. "I really don't know if I'll ever be able to work up that kind of ... get-up-and-go." She smiles. "But, um, thank you, White-san!"
Millie White 2018-11-14 01:11:05 100245
Millie nodded with a smile, glad that Narumi didn't seem to have a problem with the exchange of numbers. She was also glad that Narumi said she would actually call her if Manako showed up. Certainly, her opinion of Manako was not good, but for some reason Narumi called her Manako-chan... they couldn't be friends, could they? She might have to get to the bottom of this, but perhaps this wasn't the best time. Narumi smiled up at her weakly and Millie tilted her head curiously, but she wasn't prepared for what was said.

"I-I..." Her eyes were wide, her ears red from embarrassment. No one had ever said something like that to her before. Sure, she literally played the role of a knight when she did Medieval combat events or reenactments, but in context to real life, that was probably one of the kindest things anyone had ever said to her. Honestly she didn't see herself as a hero, she had just... always been like this, ever since she was a kid. Ever since... Millie shook her head to clear her thoughts.

"You're wrong." She said quietly. "I'm not a hero. I'm just... I don't want people to get hurt. I have to keep them safe. I have to..." She cleared her throat and did her best to smile kindly down at Narumi. "Nendai-san, I don't think you give yourself enough credit. It sounds like you've been through a lot, and I have no doubt that you are capable of many things."
Narumi Nendai 2018-11-14 01:17:07 100247
Narumi clearly isn't sure how to respond to that. She opens and closes her mouth a few times, but she can't settle on anything specific.

Then she says, "I mean, I think in context, 'want to keep people safe' and throwing a magical shield around is kind of a very 'hero' thing to do." She shrugs. "I guess we both ... 'don't think of ourselves as heroes', I guess. I dunno what to say to that."

She smiles faintly up at Millie. "Um. You can call me 'Narumi', though, by the way."
Millie White 2018-11-14 01:30:33 100249
Keeping people safe was part of hero work, technically, but Millie wasn't a hero. She helped the heroes, heroes like her father, who had no magic to protect themselves and still put their life on the line every day. Dark thoughts clouded Millie's eyes, but she looked up when Narumi began to speak again.

She wanted her to call her by her first name. That seemed to surprise her, considering since arriving in Japan she wasn't on a first name basis with anyone. A warmth that started in chest spread out to the rest of her body and she smiled. "Then you may call me Millie, Narumi-san." She said resolutely, a small lopsided smile appearing on her face. She realized she still had her Shinai in hand, so she gently rested the wooden blade on one shoulder as she looked at Narumi thoughtfully.

"Y'know," she began almost tenderly, "Neither of us might consider ourselves heroes, but I think you have exactly what it takes to be one. You basically created your own magic while asleep, Narumi, and I think that's really impressive. I almost got squished getting mine." She chuckled, remembering back to a year ago.
Narumi Nendai 2018-11-14 01:49:08 100252
Narumi nods slowly. "I mean, it's only 'magic' because of the rules of the dream world," she says softly. "But, um ... thank you, Millie-san." She smiles faintly. "I kind of almost got squished, too. After I beat the nightmares that were attacking me, Manako-chan showed up, and I think I only won because she decided she wanted to talk."

She shrugs. "Which ... is its own kind of 'losing', I guess, considering how it turned out." She frowns. "I mean I hope it'll turn out that it's good in the end, but ..." She sighs, and just smiles at Millie. "Well, um. I'm glad I'm making more magical friends, put it that way."
Millie White 2018-11-14 02:18:02 100259
Millie smiled softly and shook her head, as if disagreeing. Rules of the dream world be damned. She was an awesome Dream Princess who got her powers by herself in her sleep, and Millie would always be impressed by that. She listened to the tale of Manako, and she couldn't help the slight frown that tugged at her features. She hoped that this Manako wasn't evil, but she worked for someone calling themselves the Prince of Nightmares, so she didn't have high hopes.

At the mention of making magical friends, Millie nods and smiles, though she is a bit embarrassed. "I'm just glad to be finding friends at all." She mentions softly. "As for how things end up? Even if it is bad, you have friends willing to help. I may not have been doing this whole Magical Hero thing long, but I do know that working together is almost always a better choice."
Narumi Nendai 2018-11-14 02:25:27 100261
Narumi nods in agreement. "Friends in general are a good thing, yeah," she says, and hesitates. "I'm still trying to work up the nerve to join the literature club at Seiyou."

She smiles. "But, um, really, thank you, Millie-san!" she says. "Thank you for ... being my friend, and for wanting to help me out! That's ..." Words are failing her. "... that's definitely great, really."
Millie White 2018-11-14 02:37:13 100266
Millie tilted her head. "The Literature club at Seiyou, eh? They'd be lucky to have you, I reckon." She said matter-of-factly. "I go to Verone. It was a tough choice between the Roleplaying Games club and Literature, but I went with the RPGs." She chuckled. She had also joined the Kendo club, and really, she didn't think she could handle more than two clubs as well as running around being a hero with a shield. There just wasn't enough time in the day!

At Narumi's heartfelt thanks, Millie's expression softened into a gentle smile. "Don't thank me yet, I haven't even helped out yet." She joked. "But if you ever want to hang out or anything, feel free to text me. The cell number doesn't have to be relegated to emergencies, after all."
Narumi Nendai 2018-11-14 02:40:19 100268
Narumi smiles and nods. "It's just ... working up the nerve, I guess. And we're already so far into the school year, I guess I'd feel kind of awkward about it."

She giggles. "Okay, then," she says. "Yeah, I'll definitely wanna get to know you better, too!" She looks around for a moment. "In the meantime," she says, "you were doing kendo practice, right? I'm still interested in watching it, and all that stuff."
Millie White 2018-11-14 02:55:16 100273
Working up the nerve could be hard, but from what she had seen of Narumi so far, Millie believed she could do it. This was expressed clearly by her warm expression when looking at the shorter girl. At the mention of Kendo, Millie almost jumped. She had forgotten all about it. Truth be told she was a little embarrassed to be watched while practicing, as indicated by her red-tinged ear tips, but she couldn't say no to Narumi.

"O-Oh, of course!" She smiled and took up her stance once more. She began to go through the movements once more, but this time she would explain out loud what she was doing and why. She didn't know a lot yet, but what she did she was more than willing to share.