Have You Tried Switching Your Sister Off And On Again?

After the events of Emergency Shutdown, Sakura rescues Akari and Millie, and uses Ritterglocke to give Akari quick repairs. The conclusion is obvious: the Wolkenritter aren't as evil as they seem. With Rubindorn unable to talk much, Akari invites Millie to stay the night.

Date: 2019-01-11
Pose Count: 29
Rosalie Janus 2019-01-11 23:51:24 102508
A moment ago, during a brief moment when there was no one magical inside Gullwing Coffee ... Akari and Millie entered, and then almost immediately vanished as someone caught them in a barrier.

A few moments later, the barrier closes, and they reappear a ways down the street, unconscious. Akari's in her blue track suit, clutching Rubindorn in pendant form in one hand; nearby, her bag lies on the ground with the handles of two wooden training swords sticking out.

She isn't breathing. Her heart is thumping in her chest, however, nearly twice a second at a very regular pace with no variation. There's also a few streaks of purple in her hair -- the same shade she had as Nightbell.

A moment after they reappear, for a split second, Akari glitches with rosy red light, and her body twitches as if from muscle spasms. Then the light fades, and she goes still once again.
Millie White 2019-01-12 00:12:26 102509
Millie wasn't far from Akari, face down on the pavement with one arm outstretched towards her fallen friend. Even in unconsciousness the Cure seemed to wheeze uncomfortably, but her bangs had fallen to hide her face from view. For whatever reason, there was a large boot mark on the back of her overshirt, square between her shoulder blades, and another on her t-shirt over her ribs.

If any magical folk knew about the Wolkenritter and could hazard a guess, it would be easy to put two and two together and figure out what must have happened. Thankfully they weren't far off from the Gullwing Coffee as the sun was giving its last rays of the day.
Sakura Kinomoto 2019-01-12 00:25:07 102510
Sakura Kinomoto had sensed... Something. And had to run off, leaving Corvus to watch the shop and... Then she'd seen and found the two girls and... Of course. She had to do something. but thery were big. And she was... not. So there was a card. There HAD to be a card...

"Power!" she eventually called, transforming another card and then... Picking up both girls.

Those who walked down the street now would see a very small pre-teen girl carrying two much larger girls into a shop... And then probably check their glass prescription. Or stop drinking whatever they were.

Either way, Sakura dropped them on the cushions, looking worried and then... "What... what happened?" she asked Rubindorn, her voice in a panic.
Rosalie Janus 2019-01-12 00:38:36 102511
If it weren't for her heart beating in overdrive, Akari would seem completely lifeless. The fact that she glitches again halfway to the cafe doesn't help. There's another glitch as she settles down onto the cushions.

For a moment, Rubindorn is silent. Then the gem has a very dim flicker of light, so dim as to be almost imagined, and the tinny voice says, <<WOLKENRITTER.>> The cutesy voice is so low as to be almost a whisper. Then: <<RITTERGLOCKE HOLEN.>> Get Ritterglocke. A light briefly shines towards one of Akari's pockets, where she keeps her keys.

Akari would have told Sakura about Ritterglocke, the Device she keeps in room 3, tucked away in one corner. It's a large black round bell with Rubindorn's emblem etched into one side; a note is taped to another side: "Exit henshin/deactivate other magic, then grasp this Device firmly and say aloud: 'Diagnose und automatische Reparatur aktivieren' (dee-ag-no-zuh oond ow-to-ma-ti-shuh re-pa-ra-toor ack-tiv-ee-ren)"
Millie White 2019-01-12 00:50:40 102512
If she were conscious, Millie would have thanked their small saviour for placing them on cushions instead of just laying them on the floor. Granted, Sakura dragging them to safety at all would be greatly appreciated once Millie regained consciousness, but for the moment the brunette remained still.

Now laying on her back, the scratches on her jaw were visible from when she hit the pavement. Whatever had happened to the two of them, it was very apparent which side won the altercation.
Sakura Kinomoto 2019-01-12 01:00:27 102513
Sakura Kinomoto nodded and ran off, taking the key. She dispelled the card and ran down(taking the steps THREE at a time even though, yes, it was TECHNICALLY against the rules, it was an emergency!) She found it soon, and returned. And then held out the device. Okay, what's the worst that could happen?

"Diagnose und automatische Reparatur aktivieren!"

The device flaired to life and... Sakura wobbled and.... She tried.

And her poor star, the source of her magic, flared just a bit...

But, it didn't take long for her to hit the tipping point. Hopefully it was enough and... She.... dropped the device and topped forward onto her big sister.
Rosalie Janus 2019-01-12 01:07:56 102514
As soon as Sakura speaks up ... a holographic screen appears above the black bell, showing ominous-looking warning-signs in Belkan. Red lights shine onto Akari from the bell; there's one more glitch, and then ...

... and then Sakura just drops Ritterglocke. The screen winks out.

As soon as Sakura hits Akari, her eyes snap open and she gasps. "... MOTHER!" she exclaims.

And then she blinks, looking down at Sakura. "Ahh ... uh ... S-sakura-imouto?" She sounds dazed, and kind of scared. "I ..." She grimaces, one hand on her stomach. "I'm ... g-going to throw up ..."
Millie White 2019-01-12 01:22:01 102515
It was the sudden shout from Akari that brought consciousness slowly dragging itself back to Millie. Her senses came back slowly, almost like she was trying to wake up from a deep sleep. She could hear Akari's voice mumbling something, and Millie's eyes blinked open slowly... had the Cafe always been this bright? The Cure tried to sit up and immediately regretted it.

"Shit." Millie wheezed and one hand flew to her ribs. Yeah okay, now she remembered the kick and the pavement. Her emerald eyes opened again and saw... a child she had never seen before draped over Akari, who was definitely NOT dead. Millie simply sat there with a stunned expression for a moment. "I mean... shoot." Don't swear in front of children, Millie.
Sakura Kinomoto 2019-01-12 01:33:21 102516
Sakura Kinomoto laid there, holding onto the other girl. "A-akari... oneechan?" she asked drowsily. "Yayyyyy..." she whispered. "Are... you okay? I tried to... Everything was... you were hurt... I carried you... here... and.... sorry... I couldn't heal you all the way... I really tried..." she whispered, struggling to stay away.

Then she gasped. "Noooo... daddy says.... shouldn't use crude language... it's not..." And she kind of just... trailed off. She was definitely tired. And dazed. And fortunately Akari couldn't sense how PISSED the cards were.
Rosalie Janus 2019-01-12 01:40:16 102517
Akari looks at Millie with something like relief. But at Sakura, she grimaces, and then gently pushes her off of her and sets her down on the cushions.

And then she staggers over to the back of the counter as fast as she can, grabs a plastic bag, and just throws up into it. ... Some of it is glowing rose-red and looks kind of glitchy.

She grabs a napkin and wipes her mouth, then leans heavily against the counter. "... my biology's working again," she calls out hoarsely to Millie and Sakura. She still looks and sounds dazed and confused and scared. "In ... in other news ... ow." She winces. "... I ... I feel like Nightbell."
Millie White 2019-01-12 01:53:39 102518
The small one had heard her and despite her daze, the Canuck felt a hint of guilt. She had called Akari onee-chan... was this the Sakura she had heard so much about? A concerned expression made itself at home on her face and Millie silently reached out and placed a hand on Sakura's shoulder to support her.

"...H-Hey, take it easy." Millie wheezed softly as her brain rapidly tried to piece together what had happened, why Sakura was so wobbly, why Akari felt like Nightbell... Wait, Akari felt like Nightbell?! Her emerald gaze snapped up to stare at Akari.

"What? How?" It was then that Millie noticed the purple streaks in Akari's hair. "Your hair..." How had this happened? Millie's brows furrowed and she thought back to just before she lost consciousness. What had Signum done...?
Sakura Kinomoto 2019-01-12 02:10:46 102519
Sakura Kinomoto slowly sat up and... wobbled a bit. "A... Akari?" she asked. "Are you okay? I'll... I'll go make you some soup and...." She walked, and then wobbled and...

Was caught by Tomoyo. Who just HAPPENED to be there at this time. "Sakura-chan? I saw you bring some girls in here..." she said softly. Because of course she did. Sakura nodded. "Akari's sick, she needs soup..."

"Of course she does..." Tomoyo would, gently, guide Sakura back to the seat. Tomoyo looked between them and... Sighed. She then crossed her arms.

Five minutes later. All of the girls would be sitting. Wrapped in blankets. And there was soup. HOW Tomoyo had made it in five minutes, how it had adorable little sausages shaped like octopi, hw it was AMAZING, no one would know. All that mattered was that it was here. It was incredible. And it was tasty. Yum.
Rosalie Janus 2019-01-12 02:18:03 102520
Akari is sitting close to Sakura as she sips her soup, almost leaning against her. "We were attacked by the two Wolkenritter we ran into before," she says. "They're this old Belkan legend," she adds for Tomoyo's benefit, "knights who drain your magic and your ability to use it."

She frowns, staring down at herself. "Their leader Signum drained me, and then ... I passed out, and ..." She grimaces. "... I had a nightmare I've been having on and off ever since I was purified, and started dreaming," she says softly. "In which I ... was corrupted in the Dusk Zone even more than I was already, so when I was activated for the first time, I was just this ... raging darkness-youma." She almost looks like she's about to cry again. That plus her exclamation before makes it pretty clear who the raging darkness-youma attacked in the nightmare just now.

But she takes a deep breath, trying to steady herself. "I ... don't suppose you remember anything, Millie-chan?" she says softly. "I, uh ... was kind of ... distracted." By which she means 'terrified out of my mind.'
Millie White 2019-01-12 02:28:29 102521
This second girl, Millie had no idea about. While Akari had spoken of Sakura before, she had never mentioned any of Sakura's friends. Before she knew it, there was a blanket around her shoulders and a there was a bowl of soup in her hands. Even though Millie's stomach screamed at her to eat, she did her best to take it slowly. Besides... this was really tasty, and she wanted to enjoy it. Somehow, she was more than okay with this soup being her Birthday dinner. Her expression, however, turned dour when Akari recounted what she remembered.

"It's...a little fuzzy..." Millie mumbled and squeezed her eyes shut. "Zafira got your linker core and Signum...she was panicking. I... I think she was checking you for a pulse. While I was losing consciousness it looked like she gave you a chest compression after reaching for the Tome." Millie opened her tired eyes and looked at Akari. "I think I blacked out after that."
Sakura Kinomoto 2019-01-12 02:55:09 102522
Sakura Kinomoto was silent for a long moment, leaning on Akari and giving a soft yawn. "Not very legendary if they're here. They're kind of... here and stuff..." she mumbled. Slowly, she took a small spoonful of soup. "Thank you Tomoyo..." Sakura then glanced up and...

"You're still Akari... even if your powers got messed up... We'll just fix it again..." she mumbled and gave a yawn.

"And your linker cores got stolen? Oof... I gave that to someone once... It hurt a lot... but in the end was worth it...." she mumbled softly, nuzzling Akari for warmth, shivering as she huddled in her blanket. "Are you two okay? Will.... it make you sick or... anything?"
Rosalie Janus 2019-01-12 03:10:32 102523
Akari considers this mutely for a moment. Panicked? Tried to do a chest-compression!?

"... What did I look like after they got me?" she says slowly. "I mean ... that sounds like it should be relevant, but ..." She stops, and takes another sip of her soup. "... i. Ruby, can --"

And then grimaces. "... you can't talk right now, can you, Ruby," she says weakly. "I don't have a Linker Core, so you can't ..."

<<DU HAST MANA,>> Rubindorn says in that almost-whisper.

Akari gasps softly, eyes going wide.


Akari stares at her pendant. "Okay, she says I have mana, Millie-chan's Linker Core is less damaged," she says, "and that Signum thought I died, so she gave me power from the book." She shakes her head. "... Well, that explains the darkness that's inside me now."
Millie White 2019-01-12 03:29:43 102524
Millie silently finished her soup and nodded her thanks at Tomoyo as Akari spoke. Rubindorn's assessment confirmed what she had suspected; the Wolkenritter thought they killed Akari and panicked. That wasn't something villains did.

"You were lying on the ground..." Millie muttered in response to Akari's question. "I wasn't really seeing straight, but it looked like you were... pixelating? Glitching? I thought you were..." Millie trailed off and let out an uncomfortably shallow breath. Instead she looked up at Sakura and offered a flickering grin.

"Thanks for coming for us, and I'm sorry for being so rude. I'm Millie White, a friend of Akari's. She speaks highly of you." The Canuck offered when she realized she hadn't even introduced herself.
Sakura Kinomoto 2019-01-12 03:54:33 102525
Sakura Kinomoto nodded slowly, drifting in and out a bit. "I'm happy you're okay... Akari-oneechan..." she mumbled ever so softly, closing her eyes. "It's... good. I mean... just cause someone does bads things.... doesn't mean they're bad or... anything..." she mumbled gently. "You shouldn't wanna do bad things but... sometimes... even good people do bad things... Like... Riventon... too..." she mumbled, closing her eyes.

"Nice to meet you... Millie... I'm Sakura... Kin... o... mo... zzzzzzzz...." she nodded off again. Tomoyo sighed. "Kinomoto. And I'm Tomoyo Daidouji, a pleasure to meet you. Please, don't mind Sakura. She's been using a lot of magic lately."
Rosalie Janus 2019-01-12 03:59:25 102526
Akari frowns at Millie. "That must've looked scary," she says, and sighs softly. "Well, at least you were able to get Ritterglocke to me in time, Sakura-imouto ..."

But Sakura's starting to clonk out. Akari smiles faintly, finishes her soup, and wraps an arm around Sakura, hugging her close and letting her sleep.

And then she sighs. "... She's probably right," she says softly. "She was right about me, after all. But I'm definitely getting the impression the Wolkenritter aren't the bad guys they want to seem like. There's more to this than we know about."

She frowns. "... I'm going to have to get used to being helpless for however long it takes, too," she says. "And not having Rubindorn to talk to for more than ... a few minutes at a time." Another sigh. "Ughhh, and I thought things were going very badly before this incident just now."
Millie White 2019-01-12 04:16:55 102527
Millie watched as Sakura fell asleep in real time, mid sentence even. That was an impressive feat. A warm smile overtook her features and she nodded at Tomoyo. Millie reached out slowly and tugged Sakura's blanket more snugly around her shoulders.

"You rest up then, Kinomoto-san. The soup was delicious, Daidouji-san, thank you. Both of you really helped us out." Millie said earnestly before looking back over at Akari. Of course her friend was right. It was impossible to deny now.

"... Signum hesitated, when she extracted my linker core. Zafira wasn't using any of the abilities he used the first time we fought. They panicked when they thought they killed someone. These guys are either doing this because they have to, or they're the worst villains on the planet." Millie noted, agreeing with Akari's assessment. Her gaze softened at the mention of being helpless.

"We'll figure it out, Akari-san..." Millie placed a reassuring hand on her friend's shoulder and winced. They may not be outright villains, but they weren't exactly pulling all of their punches either.
Rosalie Janus 2019-01-12 04:35:24 102528
Akari nods slowly. "'Because they have to'," she murmurs. "Or because they think they have to. Because it's 'just a job' for them ..." She smiles faintly. "If you ever meet Guardian Gao or Guardian Hino of Waldia, you should ask them how I was, the two times I fought them, when Sakura-imouto was there to stop me. I'm thinking I might have more in common with them than I realized."

She frowns at the shoulder-squeeze. A part of her feels guilty that Millie was hurt more than Akari herself, but this sounds like the kind of thing that Rubindorn would tell her is the wrong way to think. She glances down at herself. "I feel weirdly ... numb," she says instead. "Or like a part of me is blind. I'm so 'aware' of my magic most of the time, because my body itself is a spell, but now it's ..." She shakes her head. "I can't even describe what this feels like, because everything's just in 'human' terms."

... She just looks so tired.
Millie White 2019-01-12 04:48:51 102529
It was bound to happen. Without her magic it was only a matter of time before the magical world caught up with her... it just happened to be the Wolkenritter this time. Millie didn't regret her choice, not for a moment; she had made a promise to protect Akari, and tonight she proved she was serious about it.

"If they hesitate, it means there's a chance they can be reasoned with. We'll get to the bottom of this, with or without our magic." When Akari mentioned feeling numb, Millie's brows furrowed.

"It'll take some getting used to I reckon... but our linker cores will recharge and we will figure out how to get rid of the darkness. This is temporary. In the meantime, you should get some rest, Akari-san." Millie gave one last squeeze of reassurance before she leaned back with a pained sigh. She must have been more tired than she let on, because the Canuck chuckles mostly to herself, "...and I thought my 10th Birthday was bad. New high score."
Rosalie Janus 2019-01-12 04:51:37 102530
Akari nods. "Exactly my thoughts." She hmms. "Well, I've been hit with too-much-darkness before," she says. She tugs some of her hair into her field of vision; some of it's blue, some of it's purple. She sighs. "... here's hoping at least some of it clears up by the time school starts again next Friday ..."

And then she blinks in surprise and turns to Millie. "Your birthday!?" she says. "Why didn't you say anything?" She hesitates. This does not seem to be the right time to say 'happy birthday' ...
Millie White 2019-01-12 04:58:17 102531
Millie blinked, as if just realizing what she had said. Oh, damn! The Cure moved to casually wave it off, but winced when the movement sent pain bolting in her side. Instead she shook her head gently.

"I-It's not a big deal. There was just... so much other stuff happening. Between the Wolkenritter, not having magic, and what we talked about the other day, it just seemed like there were more important things to worry about..." She explained, shrugging one shoulder, carefully this time.
Rosalie Janus 2019-01-12 05:04:27 102532
Akari sighs. "Millie-chan ... look." She gingerly puts a hand on Millie's shoulder. "I would have loved to have something extra to take my mind off thing." Whoops, wait, maybe that was too blunt. "I-I mean, uh ..." She shakes her head. "I care about you, okay? A-and ..." There's tears in her eyes now. "Just ... you can't forget about taking care of yourself. You're a magical girl, you're not just 'magical', you're also a 'girl'!"

She sniffles. "... what's with me all of a sudden," she mutters. "... am I just remembering how I missed my sixteenth ...?" She groans. She doesn't start crying, though.

"... but, uh." She smiles weakly. "Yeah. Rest sounds good."
Millie White 2019-01-12 05:16:59 102533
Millie looked at Akari for a moment, almost as if her friend had grown an extra head. Millie was a magical girl, she wasn't just magical, she was also a girl...It was strange when said out loud, but it made sense to her. The tears in Akari's eyes brought a wave of guilt crashing down on her. Millie had made Akari worry. That... that had never been her intention. It wasn't that she WASN'T taking care of herself... it was just she tended to take care of others more. Millie looked at the floor. She owed Akari the truth.

"...I was homesick. I've never spent a Christmas away from my family, never mind across the world from them. Mixed with losing my magic and not being able to help the people I care about, I figured I... wouldn't be much fun to have around. So I removed myself."

When Millie looked up again, it was clear that Akari wasn't the only tired one. Perhaps now that they had a hot meal checked off their list, a good long rest was in both their futures.
Rosalie Janus 2019-01-12 05:32:34 102535
Akari just hugs Millie. As gently as she can; she knows her friend is still injured. "... D-dummy," she murmurs. "I like being around you. You're my closest friend who isn't family! A-and ..." She grins weakly. "... helping each other out when they're feeling down is just a matter of course, right? So that means I should help you, too!"

She hesitates a moment. "Um. D-do you ... want to stay over tonight?" she says, very hesitantly. "Because I ... well, I realize this is ironic after what I just said but ... I ... am not sure I want to be alone, without even Rubindorn able to greet me in the morning. At least not just yet." She sighs. "It's just ... kind of lonely, being the only one who lives here ..."
Millie White 2019-01-12 05:40:05 102536
Dummy? It was one of the more tame things she'd been called, but Millie felt that 'dummy' was a fair assessment. The Cure tensed for only a moment when Akari hugged her before she relaxed into the embrace. It sounded so simple and logical when Akari laid it out like that, but sometimes Millie had trouble seeing the forest through the trees.

"You've BEEN helping me. Escorting me around, training with me, you even saved me from a youma, Akari-san. So honestly, thank you." At the offer to stay the night, Millie paused. She didn't reckon walking home at this hour with bruised ribs was a smart idea, and honestly, she didn't think she could refuse Akari's request even if she wanted to, not after an explanation like that.

"Of course I'll stay. The dorms won't miss me for one night. I might need a bag of frozen peas or something, though." Millie offered a weak but soft grin.
Rosalie Janus 2019-01-12 05:59:16 102537
Akari laughs weakly, and nods. "Yeah," she says. "All right. Thank you, Millie-chan!" Another careful hug.

She considers the notion of frozen peas being somewhere in a coffee shop. "There ought to be something in the freezers," she says. "And there's probably going to be a first-aid kit somewhere, too ..."