No More Heroes

As her health continues to deteriorate, Runealy is finally convinced to seek help. Together, she and Hinote begin to explain their circumstances to Mamoru, who ponders ways to help.

Date: 2015-09-20
Pose Count: 26
Runealy Waldia 2015-09-20 23:17:17 9983
The day before, Rune had some interesting discussions with Hinote. If screaming and sobbing, followed by eventually calming down, counts as a discussion. This time it was his turn to suggest visiting a certain apartment... and she reluctantly agreed.

They have come unannounced in the evening hours; the princess is transformed, but there isn't much projection of power or threat here. As they stand by the door to Mamoru's place, her head is low and eyes lidded; Runealy has the resignation of someone about to be lead to their execution, and isn't facing it with head-high dignity. "This really is an all-or-nothing gamble, you know. I guess what I was doing was the same thing though... just hope you're right, because it's one huge risk or the other."

She waits for a few seconds to hear anything Hinote might have to say back, then... knocks. If Mamoru answers, she continues to stare at the floor of the apartment hallway.
Hinote Kagari 2015-09-20 23:26:35 9984
Hinote was coming along. He was not transformed. It isn't fair, in his eyes now. He gently takes Runealy's hand and gives it a squeeze. This is all he can really do. "Princess... if there's anyone who can help us. Or... or can lead us to someone who can. I think. I think He can. I know he won't hurt us purposefully. He. He had countless times to try to do that. He hasn't." he says.

"Just. Relax Princess." he urges silently.
Mamoru Chiba 2015-09-20 23:33:47 9985
The door opens much more quickly this time, while Mamoru's voice behind it is saying something like 'hang on' and then something like 'guests'; he's holding his phone in one hand as the door swings open, and he's wearing a black t-shirt and dark jeans, unadorned but for the everpresent one earring. He only looks mildly surprised, and faintly confused at Hinote-- Runealy's brought a stranger? Well. All right. She's in henshin so he can't be unknowing.

"What did you do now?" he asks, resigned and a little exasperated, but he steps aside to let them in. "I swear, every time you come here-- am I that onerous?"
Runealy Waldia 2015-09-20 23:39:25 9986
"It's not him that I'm afraid of, exactly," Rune comments to Hinote. "And I can't relax, what we're doing now is making a gamble with... millions? Millions and millions of lives? Even if you're right about this, I'm scared!"

Then the door opens, and she can't bring herself to meet Mamoru's eyes. His question is a fair one; usually when she shows up here she has done something horrible to someone, and his words cause her to wince. She looks down and aside for several seconds, then gives an odd answer.

"I... we..." She starts crying, "...can't do this anymore."
Hinote Kagari 2015-09-20 23:46:31 9987
Hinote Kagari releases Runealy's hand. "Please..Princess. Be strong." the door opens. He looks to Mamoru and doesn't look away. "My name is Hinote Kagari." he says softly. "I'm Guardian Hino." he also adds.

He walks in politely and goes to help The Princess sit. She needs to relax.

"I..I can tell him- the story of why we're here- If you want Princess. Just." he sighs and looks to Mamoru, he doesn't sit yet.

"We're not attacking anyone anymore." he says, trying to explain the answer better.

He also adds. "I... she needs help. I don't know where to go." he says softly.
Mamoru Chiba 2015-09-21 00:07:58 9988
It would probably be really, really rude and inconsiderate to fistpump and yell 'aww yissss', so Mamoru does not do this. It would be a completely jackass move to say 'I told you so' or 'finally!!' though the latter is absolutely on the tip of his tongue.

But no, he just nods, then closes the door behind them. "Good," he tells them, and "Hi," to Hinote, and then he edges around the two of them as they take their shoes off. He's on his way to the kitchen already as Hinote explains things a little bit and helps Runealy to the couch, and he talks over his shoulder.

"I don't mean to seem cold or unfeeling, but I'm very relieved, Highness. Will you be telling me what the problem is, then? I'm more than happy to help you come up with strategies you can have a reasonable amount of control over, so long as you have the spaceships to get people to 'Europe'." There are tea-making sounds.
Runealy Waldia 2015-09-21 00:17:49 9989
"The whole reason we're here is I'm not strong, you know that." Rune comments in a weak, defeated voice to Hinote; she makes no move to slip free of his hand-hold. "And I'll explain some of it too, we can both talk this through. It's fine."

Even in the face of barely restrained victory-parading by Mamoru, she simply steps inside, steps out of her boots... and accepts the help, coughing a few times along the way and near-flopping into the couch. This close to her, Mamoru might get a chance to notice her eyes look unnatural; literally glassy or 'glazed', and with a bit of a yellow glow mixed in with the normal 'whites of the eyes.' "Honestly, you can 'seem' however you want. It's not like I have even the slightest leg to stand on in telling you how to act, talk, or feel."

He wants information, and she hesitates for several seconds. If she makes this admission, it will be very dangerous and place her home at risk if anyone is suitably interested in revenge. Yet Hinote's words from the other day echo in her mind; 'your eyes do not even look human anymore'. If she sticks to the original plan any further...

"...Our world is going to die in a few months when a demon army breaks free of their seal. We've been stealing energy, hurting people to do it, because every time I've tried to renew the seal myself... it doesn't work. I need more power. But... you should hear this first."

She still can't bring herself to face either Hinote or Mamoru. "When we attacked people, they were not 'our victims.' We called them 'heroes', because they were helping save our world even if they didn't want to, even if we were forcing them to do it by attacking and draining them. We would call for the healers and leave enough money to pay for their help, and tell them we had found our next hero. Just... no more. We're done. No more heroes!"
Hinote Kagari 2015-09-21 00:29:55 9990
Hinote Kagari looks up. "That's... That's About it." he says. He knows there is pieces missing, but he's not....he's not to bring up Runealy's mom's death here. "And... The Princess... had been. Using something. To power herself... Demon Magic.. because... because she wanted to show she could stand by herself. I didn't know this. I don't think any of the Guardians did." he says looking down.

"It's why... it's why she started convulsing and coughing and leaking black mist when she tried to heal the Puella Magi." he says.

"I... she's.. I don't think she'll be able to do the barrier ritual if she can't... can't even..."

He just sort of closes his eyes.
Mamoru Chiba 2015-09-21 00:39:47 9991
"'Heroes'. Yeah, I remember you told me you'd write about me in the history books," Mamoru's voice floats out from the kitchen. The water was already hot -- these days he's pretty much got it on all the time, and he may invest in a hot water dispenser -- so when he comes out, it's with hot chocolate already made. Two in one hand, one in the other, and he calmly sets them down in front of their respective recipients.

"I think I made my objections to that course of action known at the time. It doesn't matter. A demon army's coming to break your planet, and you need to renew a magical seal against it, and..." Mamoru holds up a hand. "Let me just make sure I'm getting this right. You need to renew a seal against demons, and you're the one who has to do the magic to do it, and you're infecting yourself with demon magic?"

He pauses. He squints. "Okay. Even leaving aside that that's what made the dance you were doing to put Akemi-san's magic back misfire, doesn't it seem kind of like building a flood wall out of sugar? Let's concentrate on getting that stuff out of you so you'll be effective, and then we'll figure out how to get you what else you need."
Runealy Waldia 2015-09-21 00:46:09 9992
"None of you did, because I made sure to never use them around you." Rune confirms Hinote's guess. "Always when I was out alone. They're illegal; anyone who finds one has to turn it in to the castle for a reward, and then the queen destroys it if we already have a few for study."

Then Mamoru calls her on the decision-making involved, and she has an explanation for it. Not a great one, but it is an explanation all the same. "It works, at first. You get a lot of power, and... I need that. I couldn't restore our Barrier like I'm supposed to, and when we got here... I had to rely on my Knights to do much of anything because I kept screwing up. People even pointed it out, that I was worthless without them! So... I did that in order to be able to pull my own weight, start winning, and get some of the energy we needed. Just... after a while, any time I did anything related to the Barrier or demon-sealing, I just..." She coughs; her body provides a conveniently timed demonstration to end the sentence. "I don't know if there is a way to get it out. Trying just hurts me even more, and... it does kill you, eventually. Our history on them has mentions of people using one and... you would find what was left of them next to another demon-crystal. They usually..." Her eyes close. "Collapsed to dust. I think it's starting to happen to me, too."
Hinote Kagari 2015-09-21 01:09:45 9994
Hinote Kagari looks down. He looks ashamed, and really. He should be. Though Runealy's description of what the crystals are doing to her are causing his hands to clench into his palm. He has to stop because one actually begins to well up in blood. It's nothing major, he justholds it with his otherhand.

"No...Mister Black told you that. He's a fucking jerk." he says plainly.

But then that sinks in. The image gets graphic in his head....Runealy...just turning into black dust...not existing anymore.

"Runealy.... I... no. I won't let that happen. I.." he clenches his fists again. He can't finish the sentence. Runealy doesn't need more emotional garbage right now. Not from him.

"I... what can I do!?" he finishes with something else.
Mamoru Chiba 2015-09-21 01:34:57 10001
"What's done is done," Mamoru says gently, then leans forward to nudge the hot chocolate closer to Runealy. "What-ifs aren't going to help, and hopefully you know better next time you have hard choices. You can't rid yourself of that, but I'm sure we can find someone who can. I've seen people purged of darkness before." He adds mildly, "I don't think it would hurt more than being drained of magic."

Then he picks up his own hot chocolate and sips it. "Whatever I might be able to do, I can't purify you. I can heal your body, but I can't heal your soul. I can keep you stable, physically, if taking the darkness out is too much. It's vital that this part gets sorted before any more progress is made on the actual solution." Hands soaking in the warmth of the cup, Mamoru closes his eyes, looking thoughtful. "Though we can still talk about it so I can go through my contacts in the background and find out who generates the best PR. Is it just power you need to feed into you as you do the ritual? Is it an army to fight the demons off to buy you time should the seal burst before you're completely ready?"
Runealy Waldia 2015-09-21 01:43:26 10003
Eventually, Rune takes notice of Hino's... 'handiwork.' "Wh.. .are you... did you just...?" Seeing that he's that upset drives a few more points afterward, even if she doesn't immediately get to linger on them. She makes a few headshakes afterward, "He said it, and he is a monster, but it's still true. I've been messing up since even before we came here... we're here /because/ of that."

Her head lowers as she's starting to realize this mistake is tearing up others; Hinote is not taking this all that well. Perhaps better than she would have expected, but... she's jarred out of these thoughts as Mamoru speaks. "It's fine if any sort of solution hurts. 'Fair is fair' with what I've been doing to people, after all. And..." Then her eyes shoot wide. "No-no-no-no! No, if they actually get out... by the Barrier... if we end up facing the whole lot of them, that's it. Our world will die, and once they've finished having fun with us?!"

Now she's meeting gazes just fine, terrified as she concludes this point: "When I said 'Europe is part of Earth too', that wasn't just me being ridiculous. When they finish with us, they will eventually find the same way over here that we did... and Earth will be next. Honestly, extra power for the ritual sounds right, but... we've..."

Shame and grief overwhelm her as she carries on to another topic. "No queen has ever failed the Barrier Restoration Ritual. They've always gotten it right. Not doing it properly is... a first. I've 'made history' with that, in the worst possible way. I'm just... nowhere near as good as any queen, so... I've been hoping that if I have more power to make up the difference, that would be enough!"
Hinote Kagari 2015-09-21 02:10:12 10008
Hinote Kagari takes the hot cocolate. The small cut on his hand isn't worrying him. Papercuts are probably worse. He looks down and takes a sip. He sort of looks guilty and shameful. But that's how you look in these things.

"These things are going to destroy...destroy her world. Then... then they come here." he says softly. he looks down.

"I just wish I could take all this hurt....and pain...and this infliction into myself." he admits. "The Princess doens't deserve this..." he says looking down. "Not even.. if. If we were doing bad things. I...."

He's really just breaking down the longer he talks.

"I.. I met The Princess... and her friend... in the place where I practice. A secret place. They tried to drive me away. But. They told me they were here from far away and needed the place. Mom...always told me to help people. No matter what. I. I made sure there was food... water.... all that. That's all I could do at the time...."

"Then... we walked into a witches barrier. And she. Became The Princess. And I didn't even know what was happening. But. She tried to hurt the Witch, and- it didn't work. She was left stunned a moment. I. I had to push her out of the way. I don't even know where I got the energy to run that fast in my life." he says.

"...When we met the next day. They told me why they were really there. Because it almost killed me. They. Gave me the choice to help. I did." he says softly.

"I-- nrg." he just looks down.
Mamoru Chiba 2015-09-21 02:19:53 10012
"I understand," Mamoru says simply. "The first deal I tried to make was for Her Highness to take my energy instead of Sailor Moon's every time she had the opportunity to take Sailor Moon's. I understand wanting to shoulder someone else's pain because they don't deserve it. But falling apart isn't going to help, and crying doesn't solve anything."

This is said to both of the other teenagers in his living room, this last part, as Mamoru looks between them. Then he focuses on Runealy. "You don't need to tell me they're a threat to this world to make me concerned. They're already a threat to millions of people whose lives also count. What you have to keep in mind is that you have to hope for the best, and plan for the best, and believe the best will happen, but also -- just in case -- plan for the worst. Contingencies for everything, princess. It sounds to me..."

The older boy turns his mug around in his hands, looking at it, then continuing hesitantly. "It sounds to me like the second to worst may already have happened, if you're the one needing to renew the barrier. If you're a princess needing to do it, not a queen. Is there anything that a queen may have gained at her coronation that you don't have access to? An extra power, an item, some kind of inheritance that must be vested?"
Runealy Waldia 2015-09-21 02:31:27 10014
"Our world," Rune corrects Hinote on this point, staring at him with intense insistence. "You've done more than enough to earn that." Then she quiets down to let him recount his perspective on things, and near the end she reiterates this: "You've been helping a lot."

A nod over to Mamoru. "He's telling the truth, though he's leaving out the part where 'Black' tried to steal my wand just a few days later and he and Gao had to chase Black off because I barely slowed him down." She's more than willing to fill in the details that make her look even worse!

Then Mamoru tries to lay out the broader situation and what he's thinking on. "That almost sounds like something she would have said. But I don't know if I can rank this by 'second worst, most worst, third worst', whatever... it pretty much is just 'the worst' to me. I don't know! I just don't know! Mom was already Queen as far back as I can remember and she showed me the ritual, made sure I knew how to do it right... and every time so far I either get it wrong anyway, or I can do every step correctly and the energy I offer to the Barrier just vanishes anyway!"

He's telling her that crying won't help, but as she outlines her inability to prevent the apocalypse... she's nearing hysterics, shouting and crying and looking ready to just have another nervous meltdown.
Hinote Kagari 2015-09-21 02:51:20 10018
Hinote Kagari hasn't been crying. But is slowly falling apart. Just a little at a time right now. He blinks at Rune. "No... I. I mispoke. I know that. I'm just. A mess right now." he says trying to manage a smile. This doesn't quite work out. He looks back down. He puts his Hot Chocolate down though.

He turns to the Princess and closes his eyes. He places his hands on her shoulders....."Princess." he says softly. "Remember...what I told you. About Stage fight...?" he asks.

"In carefully.... out carefully. Breathe." he says as he closes his eyes. It isn't magic. But. It's all he got right now.

He looks to Mamoru. "If... If there was anything else nessacry for the ritual.... I think she'd know it by now." he says softly. "Magic is....rare. Where we come from. Just the Royal line.... Just the Guardian Knights. And. Even those Guardian Knights... fell out of use. Me... Gao.... The Princess says we're the first in hundreds of years...." he says silently.
Mamoru Chiba 2015-09-21 03:07:31 10022
"It had to have started somehow," the older boy says, shaking his head. "Everything has a beginning. It's all right. Please stop panicking. Asking for help is good: it means you won't be working alone, all of you, which means more ideas and more propositions and more plans to throw at the wall and see if they stick."

He stands up and moves around the coffee table, then crouches down next to the couch on the other side of Rune from Hinote, and offers his hand. "You're asking for my help. Let me help in every way I can. I need you to calm down, and I know it's hard, so I'm offering help with that too. Listen to Kagari-san, Princess-chan. Slow down. You may be running out of time, but no one needs you to do anything right this very moment."
Runealy Waldia 2015-09-21 03:10:14 10023
Rune stares at Hinote, as he holds her shoulders, with the same sort of look a deer in headlights might offer. No words, but she is trying some kind of breathing exercise all the same. It's having... some effect. she's still very alarmed and upset, but no longer on the verge of attracting landlord-troubles for their host. This is 'somewhat loud', but still in-door voice as she resumes speaking about the Barrier crisis.

"I tried, over and over! We checked everything, and I haven't left anything out. When I do the Ritual correctly, it's technically right, I just..." Mamoru manages to cut her off from this line of thought, and she just... responds with a lowered head, a whimper, and a tiny nod. The hand is taken, but her grip is very tiny and light. "I just don't know what we're going to do. Thought we had this all planned out, that we were so close to having what we needed, but now I have no idea."
Hinote Kagari 2015-09-21 03:33:52 10027
Hinote Kagari releases Runealy. She seems to be calming down. That's good. Very good. He looks to Mamoru appreciativly and closes his eyes. "We're going to figure out how to get that stuff out of you first...." he says softly. "I just...don't know...who to approach about it." he says as he looks down. "I might ask Su----" he pauses. "I might ask Storm Knight if she knows about anything like that. But... she said. She was kinda new to this whole thing too." he says softly. He looks to Mamoru.

"I. I should probably let you initiate contact with anyone that can help us that you know." he says softly.
Mamoru Chiba 2015-09-21 03:43:36 10029
The tiny light grip comes with the same thing Mamoru's hand on her arm came with weeks and weeks ago, when she came to ask him about Miss White's power problems. A little energy boost, and the calming, steadying presence of the young man, warm and solid. He'll hold her hand until she lets go. "Knowing the plan won't work before the deadline, even if there's not much time left, is better than finding out when it's time to implement it," he says gently.

Then he looks up at Hinote, and the smallest quirk of a smile lifts the corner of his mouth at the Guardian Knight almost saying Suzuki's name. "She's a friend of mine too. I think the best bet is talking to Virtue: I've spoken to both Hotori-kun and Tsukasa-sensei about my worries for your team before, and Tsukasa-sensei at the very least has a long history of dealing with magic. I may also ask Blue, who is affiliated with some of the Pretty Cures -- you saw him, Princess-chan, he helped Scorn. There is a girl I know whose specialty is fighting nightmares, and she may have some ideas, as her traditions are fraught with gods and demons. Of course I'll speak with the Sailor Senshi as well, and anyone I can think of who is either willing to forgive, or won't be after your power."
Runealy Waldia 2015-09-21 03:48:16 10030
Rune slumps against the couch anew when no longer being held. The attempts at melodrama and mystery to make her seem more powerful, more threatening are gone now. They may not have ever worked in the first place, they may have very well looked ridiculous and unbelievable, but she's no longer even trying; she just looks tired, coughing again for several seconds before getting it under control. "I'm not even sure who the Storm Knight is. Doesn't sound like anyone I made an Oath with? Maybe it's one of those other types of Knight..."

Then Mamoru offers something concrete on how to proceed, and her attention snaps up; head sharply, suddenly lifted. "Huh? Who's Virtue? ...No, it sounds more like 'what is Virtue'. A lot of these names don't mean much to me. A few do, but the rest are just ones I've not heard. 'People who will forgive', though... I bet that list is pretty short. Even in our original plan, we always intended to come back and hold ourselves accountable... offering something, whatever we could to make up for this, before you wouldn't have to see us ever again."
Hinote Kagari 2015-09-21 03:56:33 10032
Hinote Kagari looks to Mamoru and nods. He looks back to Runealy. Oh. Then he blushes. "Er......" he pauses. "... something sort of attacked her out of the blue one day---and I transformed without thinking about it, because she was a friend who helped me figure out I should stay in the Drama Club despite all.... things, in front of her. Then. She transformed too." he says softly. "I. Was. Worried if I told you....that you thought I was stupid." he says looking down. "I told her I was hunting magical girls for energy, and that I was afraid I'd had to attack her first for it. It was just. Awkward. She said she'd consider.... just letting herself get drained. Like....." she motions over to Mamoru.

He looks down. "I... I've just been trying to give her space since then. I need to say Hi to her again soon...." he admits quietly. He closes his eyes.
Mamoru Chiba 2015-09-21 04:05:55 10033
"She'll be glad to hear you've stopped," Mamoru says encouragingly, "and I'm sure she'll be happy to help in whatever way she can. And let me tell you, giving it willingly, even if it hurts the same, is better than having it taken."

He still holds Rune's hand, still quietly and steadily offering that empathic calm. "Hime-chan, you don't give Tokyo's defenders much credit," he says with a small laugh. "There are certainly many who won't forgive, even after you change your ways, because you're dealing with humanity. People are people, and some have more open hearts than others. But a lot of what it apparently takes to wield the sort of power that saves lives means having a more open heart than otherwise. The list is likely longer than you think. And if you ask them for help, they'll give it."

He shifts in his crouch, sitting on his heels instead. "Virtue is an organization dedicated to fighting evil-- but its outlook is based on hope and forgiveness, on redemption. If you come to them for help, not only will they give it, they'll defend you from the ones who don't forgive. If you like, I can set up a meeting for you with Hotori-Kun and Tsukasa-sensei, who are basically the main points of contact."
Runealy Waldia 2015-09-21 04:13:39 10035
"The drama club? Oh... that's right." It occurs to Rune that Hinote actually has some care about his school performance and hobby events, whereas she has seen Tokyo schools as an unwelcome distraction that had to be endured by day. "Well... you're going to have a lot more time for clubs now. 'No more heroes', after all. But listen, I'm not going to call you 'stupid.' You're not. And just think about it, how fair would it be if I started treating you like that after you've taken the Oath? That sounds... really awful to do." Her head lowers. "I'm sorry if you thought that was how I'd treat you."

Mamoru offers some more insight on Virtue, and she's... thinking on it. A visible process of several seconds in silence before offering: "That sounds a lot better than... 'execution'," it's still an unfamiliar word to her. "...Okay. I guess... I guess it's not really appropriate for diplomatic meetings with someone hiding their name though, is it? 'The Princess' is what we've been using to prevent anyone from tracing us home... the First Queen named our world and nation after herself, and it wouldn't be too hard to figure it out once invaders got there, so I hid that. So," Her free hand - Mamoru is still holding one - reaches up to her tiara and removes it from her head. It vanishes, and a flash of red light covers her. When it's gone, 'The Princess'...

...Is the person Mamoru met months ago, briefly, at a festival concert. The one with the unusual, foreign fashions a few centuries outdated. "My name is Runealy, Crown Princess of Waldia. Some call me 'Rune'." She does not sound very proud of her own introduction, struggling with feelings that might be similar to Hinote's. "And if we can meet with them, if they have a better idea... I am listening."
Hinote Kagari 2015-09-21 04:50:09 10043
Hinote Kagari listens to the choices that Mamoru brings to the table. He looks down. Also. The Princess introduces herself properly. This brings a smile to his face that isn't forced and genuine!

"I am going to let The Princess handle this one." he says with a soft nod. "I mean. We'll go together. But. I think it means more. If they speak to her properly instead of me." he nods.