Mages, Mahous, and Witches

Miho catches up with Hokuto about her Life Blessing training, and describes a decision she's made about where she wants to take her magical career.

Date: 2018-11-25
Pose Count: 29
Miho Kagami 2018-11-25 23:15:51 100898
Miho texted Hokuto inviting her over to the spot in the park where she first learned about the Life Blessing. She also asked Hokuto to bring the newspaper clipping with the photo of Life Mahou Wonder. "Wanna figure a few things out," she added.

Now, Miho is in the clearing, practicing her tai chi exercises in henshin. She's doing a mixture of the style Hokuto taught her, plus sun-style. It's a sunny but cool late November afternoon, but she doesn't seem to notice the cold in spite of her bared arms and legs; magic tends to work out great for that sort of thing.
Hokuto Minase 2018-11-25 23:28:55 100899
The sound of a motorcycle engine heralds Hokuto's arrival, the miko ignoring the rules and taking her bike directly up to the edge of Miho's clearing before parking it and stopping the engine. "Hey-o," she calls over as she dismounts, plucking a basket from the bike's cargo rack before heading out towards the girl.

It's been a busy day for her, getting a few projects underway, but by this time in the afternoon, she's ready to get away from that and spend some time with a friend. "Don't let me stop you, finish your set. We can talk when you're done."
Miho Kagami 2018-11-25 23:33:18 100900
As the motorcycle brazenly draws near, Miho chuckles in that clear bright voice she has in henshin. But she just smiles and nods to Hokuto in response to that comment. She lets herself slip back into the groove of her tai chi exercise, and keeps going until she finishes the set.

Once finished, she smiles at Hokuto. "So, hey," she says. "How's things? Last night I helped a friend when a youma blew up her apartment."

... She's really gotten the hang of being a magical girl. It's a complete turnaround from her attitude on the subject the first time they talked about it in this clearing, nearly half a year ago.
Hokuto Minase 2018-11-25 23:43:47 100901
Hokuto grins and takes a cross-legged seat at the edge of the clearing, watching with a smile as Miho goes through her workout, keeping a close eye for any flaws she might be able to point out and help perfect the girl's technique.

"I saw the picture in the newspaper, didn't have time to read the article," she answers. "Sounds like you did pretty well, though."

She smiles proudly as she watches, leaning back on her hands, enjoying the sunny afternoon.
Miho Kagami 2018-11-25 23:51:49 100902
Miho nods, and sits down. "Lacchan and Maki-san helped out," she says. "The girl's sleeping over at their place for the time being. Apparently, Mamoru-kun's been handling the apartment expenses and stuff, I dropped him a text to let 'im know about it."

She pauses, and then adds, "Noroiko made herself known, by the way." She glances over at the basket. "Got the newspaper clipping I asked for?"
Hokuto Minase 2018-11-25 23:59:27 100904
Hokuto smiles lightly and passes over the newspaper. "Of course," she answers. "Didn't have time to read it myself, but I did grab the paper." She shrugs. "Sounds like the girl's in good hands." Even if she doesn't exactly get along with Lacrima.

"So, Noroiko, that's your fox-spirit-thing, right? I think you said something about her being in your shadow?"
Miho Kagami 2018-11-26 00:06:20 100905
Miho nods. "Yeah," she says. "I really feel like I want to figure out what her deal is." She accepts the newspaper; Life Mahou Wonder is on full display there, dressed in an elegant princessy twelve-layer kimono. She has about the same number of heart emblems as Joy does now, but they're arranged fairly differently.

"So, I've got several questions," she says. "One of which was spurred on by this dumb thing I did on Halloween when a sand-monster appeared, I put a witch hat on over my henshin." She pauses. "Why does 'Life Mahou Joy' look like this --" She points at herself, at her Pretty-Cure-meets-Sailor-Senshi outfit. "-- when Life Mahou Wonder looks like that?" She points at the photograph. "Why did Noroiko call me 'Life Mage Joy' when she first popped up?" she continues. "And what is Noroiko's whole deal anyway?"

She smiles. "I got a feeling that the answers to all of those things are gonna be connected."
Hokuto Minase 2018-11-26 00:15:40 100906
Hokuto nods, looking at the picture, comparing it with Miho's own outfit. "I suspect a good part of it is cultural expectations," she starts. "A henshin is - far as I can tell - often formed from what you think your magical self should look like. So, mine looks like a miko, Sailor Moon looks like a figure-skater, and so on. Oujino-baa-san did her thing in the 40's... they had a pretty different expectation for what somebody magical would look like back then." She has no idea why Moon likes figure skaters, but what works for a girl, works, yes?

"So, I figure that's the why of the different outfits. Why 'Mage'? Excellent question. I wouldn't mind having the chance to pin foxy-chan down for a few questions myself." She grins and winks at Miho.

She opsn the basket and pulls out a thermos and a couple of plastic tea mugs, then pours for both girls. It's a nice minty herbal blend. "Any chance you can get her to show her face? Maybe for some bacon?"
Miho Kagami 2018-11-26 00:32:54 100908
Miho nods slowly. "That tracks with a little bit of what I was thinking," she says. "Like, in the time it took between Unagi-san popping up and Kagekumo-kun taking me on his little field trip to the Night Harbor ... my idea of magical girls was 'Pretty Cure' and 'Sailor Senshi.'"

She accepts the tea, and nods at the other question. "Aside from feeling scared or panicked or whatever, or I guess trying to use the Death Curse, I dunno how to get her to show up," she says. "Don't s'pose you have any ideas?" She shrugs. "I don't think she can actually interact with the world, either. We'd probably be in a lot more trouble if she could."

She sips her tea. "But one thing I've been figuring out in the tai chi and meditation stuff is that there's something malleable about the Life Blessing," she says. "Or I mean, like, the exact hows and whys of getting my henshin out. Some uncertain amount of time ago, the title was 'Life Mage', not 'Life Mahou', and that's how Noroiko first heard of us."

She smiles. "I wanna try changing it again," she says. "Let's say ... 'Life Witch Joy'."
Hokuto Minase 2018-11-26 00:44:58 100910
"That does make sense," Hokuto agrees. "If you're comfortable with it, then that's fine. Don't try to fix what isn't broken, and all that." She smiles and sips her tea.

She peers at Miho's shadow as if sheer force of attention could cause the fox-spirit to manifest. "Fox-kin do have a tendency towards... mischief," she agrees with a grin. "Even more so than crows."

Another sip of tea, and she stretches out, teacup set aside as she lifts both arms high above her head. "Well, we know it can do more than just heal," she agrees. "Mage, Mahou... enh. No power does only one thing."

After a moment's pause for consideration, she asks, "So... what does witch mean to you, as compared to mahou or mage?"
Miho Kagami 2018-11-26 00:57:09 100912
Miho's shadow remains resolutely perfectly normal, insofar as it's the shadow of a girl in a magical girl costume who is currently not particularly affected by the cold.

"Well, that's just it," she says. "I feel like ... I dunno. It's an awkward blend of other people's styles? I mean I've been ..." She glances down at herself. "... well, my usual outfit these days is a skirt and also jeans simultaneously. I sort of got into the habit on impulse." She looks back up at Hokuto. "But, like, I've been trying to come up with a style, and I don't really know if this exact mashup is working for me."

She shrugs. "And then, like ... it's got, y'know, connotations, kinda thing. Witches fly like the wind. Witches are clever and observant and all that -- like, I've got the 'observant' down at least, so it's something to work towards." She's kind of selling herself short there. "Witches do what they want, they present themselves how they feel like, and they take that whole 'aesthetic' thing that's commonly seen as 'bad' and just embracing it. 'Witch' is a feminine term, in both English and Japanese. And both of those things are kind of a trans thing right there," she adds. "Whereas ... 'mage' doesn't have all that stuff, I think, and 'mahou' is just switching languages all of a sudden for one word."

She smiles. "And, like ... I want to figure out the Life Blessing," she says. "If I'm gonna be a witch, the Life Blessing is gonna be my witchcraft. I want to use it, not just as a tool, but as like the medium of my magical stuff. And like I guess that's a 'mage' thing too. But I just want to go for the 'witch' thing. And doing that is also a witch thing."
Hokuto Minase 2018-11-26 01:13:42 100914
"Seems to me you've got a good grasp on it, then," Hokuto considers. "Maybe a little goth, but there's nothing wrong with that. Just so long as you don't pick up the goth angst thing." She grins and winks, clearly not taking that bit very seriously.

"It makes plenty of sense to me. I say go for it, and I'm with you all the way." She sips her tea, still grinning. "We were already going to figure out how to use the Blessing for more, right? So then!" She sets down her empty cup. "How's the tai chi going?"
Miho Kagami 2018-11-26 01:22:45 100916
Miho giggles and nods. "I mean, if someone called Life Witch Joy gets angsty, I think somebody's really taken a wrong turn somewhere!"

She sets down her own empty cup. "It's been going great," she says. "I think I've figured out ho to use the energy more efficiently, anyway, and that is how I started wrapping my mind around the malleability thing." She shrugs. "The thing is, though, I kind of think I'm running into the limits of what you can do with my magic powers with tai chi and meditation stuff. I think I sort of ... need to figure out what the actual next step is, I guess? So yeah."

She looks back up at Hokuto. "Any idea what that might be?" she says. "Or ... other ideas about tackling the Noroiko problem?"
Hokuto Minase 2018-11-26 01:38:23 100917
A wry laugh escapes the miko, and Hokuto nods in reply, still grinning, her eyes glinting with mirth. "Indeed, indeed," she muses. "Unless you've a taste for dark irony, which seems more the Death Curse's ouevre to me."

She has to pause and think before answering the remaining questions, though. "Noroiko... Mmm. Trying to bind her is probably futile, unless she's making a game of trying to get you to chase her. Which doesn't seem to be happening." She shrugs. "The other will take some thought, but... tai chi isn't just a slow, meditative form. It can be pretty effective as a fighting method, taken at speed."
Miho Kagami 2018-11-26 01:51:01 100918
Miho nods thoughtfully. "She's mostly just popped up to make obvious deals-with-the-devil when I'm at my worst," she says. "Or just to taunt me. One time, I was fighting this Eclipse goon called Tarnished, and Noroiko loudly suggested that she should try to stuff me with more darkness." She stares off into the distance. "... and then there's the fact that she can't do anything besides talk to us. She needs to get shard-youma or like Spider-Dude to do stuff for her, or try to tempt me to use the power of darkness ..."

She hmmms thoughtfully. "Maybe," she says. "I dunno if I'm that much of a martial arts kind of person ... Would that kind of thing help with the actual Life Blessing side of things?"
Hokuto Minase 2018-11-26 02:15:25 100920
"Hmmmm," Hokuto muses, pondering it. "So she's trying to push you towards... yeah, that might be it. You ever wonder if she might be connected to the Curse, not the Blessing?" She hmmms again and pours another mug of tea.

"It did for me," she adds to the martial arts discussion, "But I don't know if it would for you... you are, after all, demonstrably not me." She grins again, winking once more. "The slow bits were to get you used to moving the energy around consciously, taking control of it rather than just letting it do what it wants. Serious application would be the natural next step, yes?"
Miho Kagami 2018-11-26 02:30:46 100923
Miho tilts her head. "I mean, there's pretty much no way she isn't connected to the Curse instead of the Blessing," she says. "Whatever she knows ..." She considers this a moment. "Well, I think I'd rather try to get used to what I've got first, before I try to do anything else," she says. "Sort of ... consolidate my knowledge or whatever. I think I've almost got firing Joy Shining Ray twice at once. But ... hmmm."

She gingerly sips her tea. "If we were gonna try to get Noroiko to show her face on purpose," she says, "what kind of safety stuff can you think of to do, to keep her from getting out of hand?"
Hokuto Minase 2018-11-26 02:40:05 100924
Hokuto nods. "What works for you, works for you. These things are too... individual, to really say that any particular method is 'right' or 'wrong'." She shrugs. "Take what time it needs to get it right, and move on when you're ready to."

She considers the fox question for a moment. "I could set up some wards, I suppose... protections against energy drain and such...."
Miho Kagami 2018-11-26 02:43:42 100925
Miho nods slowly as she makes her way through the tea. "I feel like it'd be a good idea to, like ... point the big guns to purify me in case something happens," she says. "... like, maybe I could try to, uh, poke at the curse with a stick. A stick which is also my bare hands in this metaphor." She shrugs. "But I like to think I'm not that reckless. Or I mean ... we could ... think of some way to get at her, and then build the safeties around that."
Hokuto Minase 2018-11-26 02:51:38 100926
"Good, good," Hokuto agrees. "And I agree. We need to go into this well prepared." She stretches out again, then pulls out a notepad from her basket to begin sketching out a ward scheme. "If she is connected to the Curse -- part of it -- then... hmmm." She adds a series of characters in a large circle around the page. "I don't know if this will be able to hold her at all, really. It's designed for yin spirits. But..."
Miho Kagami 2018-11-26 02:55:00 100928
Miho looks over Hokuto's shoulder at the circle. "Like, I dunno bindings and that stuff," she says, "but that ... makes sense, I guess?" She shrugs. "I wonder if we can ... make her appear the same way she normally does, except without me being in a tizzy. Or in the process of like a complete emotional disaster, kinda thing."
Hokuto Minase 2018-11-26 03:05:32 100930
"Possible. I wouldn't be comfortable testing it without protections, though." Hokuto murrs and adds a second circle to her diagram. "Maybe I'm paranoid... but it seems to me she really is out to get you."
Miho Kagami 2018-11-26 03:06:30 100931
Miho nods. "I mean, in terms things that are obvious," she says, "I don't think we can get more obvious than that."
Hokuto Minase 2018-11-26 03:10:58 100932
"True, true," Hokuto agrees. "But this will take some time... it's not going to be something I can have ready to go in a few minutes." She turns the page in her notepad and starts working on a second set of diagrams.

"What else have you been up to? Anything fun?"
Miho Kagami 2018-11-26 03:15:04 100934
Miho nods, and sits back. "On the magic side ... I met a Pretty Cure named Cure Shield, who transferred over from Canada, and who has the ability to smell magic," she says. "I met her when she sniffed out my training." She smiles. "She's a nice girl. I think it'll be fun to have her around."

She finishes her teacup and sets it down. "On the non-magical side ... school's doing well, I think. I joined the track team right after the term began, I forget if I mentioned it." She grins. "Since I also like running while in henshin, I figured ... why not take it home? Do it in ... mundane circumstances, and all that."
Hokuto Minase 2018-11-26 03:19:15 100935
Hokuto nods, "New friends are always worth meeting. Good on you. Hope things go well with her." She smiles again and leans back. "As for track... mmm. Does your henshin give you extra strength or endurance or anything? You've got to be careful about that... showing off in front of the norms is a good way to attract unwanted attention."
Miho Kagami 2018-11-26 03:25:09 100937
Miho nods. "I tested that!" she says. "I'm basically just a baseline 'ordinary human' when I'm not in henshin. About the only thing I can really do is heal people and do a flickery glowy light show, and both of those take lots of effort. And, like, even if I could give myself a speed-boost ..." She shrugs. "Well, it's obvious that I shouldn't do that thing."
Hokuto Minase 2018-11-26 03:36:05 100938
Hokuto hmmms lazily. "Well, if you're taking it carefully..." She makes a hum of dismissal. "Do what feels right. Be happy." She straightens up and flashes another of her patented grins. "And maybe someday we'll try a full-power foot-race. See who can run faster without any holding back."
Miho Kagami 2018-11-26 03:42:49 100939
Miho grins and waves her hand. "I'm gonna have to take you up on that!" she says cheerfully.