The Capricorn Vertex attacks and Karin tries to lead Togo to a dominating victory. Things do not go quite like she'd planned.

Date: 2015-09-22
Pose Count: 13
Karin Miyoshi 2015-09-22 01:09:54 10074
    Late afternoon at Seiyou Public School. Classes let out an hour or two ago, and club activities are in full swing. For the Hero Club this means helping out the other clubs and servicing the community, which today means three of its members are off helping the Tennis Club with fundraising activities. The two that remain in the Clubroom are Mimori Togo, updating the club's Website with their recent activities and availabilities, and Karin Miyoshi, who rarely goes out on Hero Club activities off campus. In fact her entire presence in the Hero Club is a bit of an anomaly, as she seems singularly unhelpful and even unhappy with being there.

    That said she stubbornly refuses to quit or find a different club despite her clearly stated dissatisfaction with the status quo, and with enough pleading, cajoling, or tricking can generally end up being helpful enough. She's also extremely open about her second life as a Magical Girl, something she all but threw on everyone's face on the first day of school. Surprising, maybe, but not earthshaking since Yuna was known to have special powers.

    Karin is sitting at a desk working on the wording for an upcoming Hero Club advertisement posters(stiff, firm, too direct; potentially insulting). She's having a rough time of it, wondering why she's bothering to hide in plain sight like this, wishing she could be training instead of doing what she considers to be a waste of time. She looks over and watches Togo for a moment, and then turns her eyes up to the shrine to Shinju-sama on the wall, staring at it for several long minutes.

    When she finally looks down to the paper she's working on and rereads it she realizes it's awful. She curls it up into a ball and throws it across the room towards a trash bin- there's one closer, but wants to take her aggravation out physically.

    A foot above the bin it freezes in the air.

    She blinks, and rubs her eyes, "Do I need to take more vision supplements..?" she mutters to herself, only to realize that there's nothing wrong with her sight at all. She gets up and runs over to the window, looking out over the campus. People walking, running, throwing balls. Chasing each other playfully. But all of them stopped completely- frozen in a single moment of time.

    Just then their phones begin ringing. It's their normal set ringbones, but when they're looked at there's a message on the screen in ominous black and red: FORESTIZE WARNING.

    Kain looks up from her phone, a grin of excitement and determination on her face. "It's finally happening! Everything has been leading to this day." Outside the window there's a potentially terrifying visage: an overwhelming mass of multicolored flower petals rushing towards them, pouring in from the direction of the sea and seeming to envelop the entire world.

    And when it reaches the Hero Club's clubroom everything changes around them.
Mimori Togo 2015-09-22 01:40:21 10080
There's not only website work going on here! Togo has also brought a tray of sweets, some of which were taken by the other three club members before they headed out. But there's more than enough for Karin to snack on, if she can bring herself to reach over for them. But will the serious girl go for the bait?

Togo glances over every so often, just softly smiling as she sees her fellow Hero Club member hard at work. It doesn't matter if Karin is good at this or not. What matters is that she's participating.

A soft tune is hummed as Togo taps away at the keyboard, an old classical enka song she'd been listening to a lot lately. Somehow, she manages to keep her typing in tune with the song... until she pauses and frowns, going back to tap at the keyboard. Then again. Why isn't it working anymore? "That's strange..." The girl leans over, ready to peer at the computer's tower to look for any problems, when she notices the floating paper. "What is... that?" Hands calmly come to the wheels of her chair, and she pulls back and around the desk, just as her phone begins to buzz. "What does... Forestize mean?" She meets Karin's excited expression with her own confused one. "What's happening? What--"

And then they're somewhere else, and Togo just stares, wide-eyed, hands frozen in place on her chair's wheels. She doesn't ask anything, she doesn't move or even look around... she just stares, arms slowly drooping.
Karin Miyoshi 2015-09-22 02:06:43 10083
    Most days Karin is able to resist the urge of delicious home made sweets. Today isn't one of them, and one of the times Togo looks over to her she's eating one of them. No doubt for the next few days she'll be insisting that sweets are terrible for you and that her diet is perfectly balanced for maximum health benefits.

    When Shinju's barrier is placed over the world Karin takes it all in for a few moments, and then explores a little. Their immediate area is on some sort of rolling plateau, endless similar hills seeming to stretch to the horizon, interspersed with a multitude of large twisting, vinelike arches. And everything, absolutely everything, is covered in colorful flowers.

    It's the first time Karin has seen it in person, and though she's been told what to expect it overwhelms even her. A hard trained combatant her feet twist, grinding the ground to feel what the footing is like in the endless flowerscape, and her heel taps to feel the firmness of the ground. Without realizing it she smiles- both are as good as any combatant could hope for.

    When Togo's arms drops she catches the motion out of the corner of her eyes, looking over. She almost forgot the other Hero Club member was next to her at all! "This," she states matter-of-factly, "is the -real- purpose of the Hero Club. It isn't to help old people across the street or to find homes for lost kittens. It's purpose is to protect our Nation," it is Togo she's speaking to after all, "and our world from destruction." She pauses, looking down at her phone. With a few taps she pulls up the map, half turns, and points. "From that."

    Far off in the distance, what looks like miles, is an abomination. A monstrosity. A creature of red white and black, looking completely unlike living thing from Earth, looking like a cobbled together pile of shapes more than anything. it has four large hornlike legs attached to a central 'body' that's vaguely triangular, the whole thing rounded and curved, save for the points of it's 'feet'.

    "A Vertex."
Mimori Togo 2015-09-22 02:30:40 10086
Sweets can be an important part of a balanced diet! It's all about moderation, which Karin understands a lot better than Fuu or Yuna. Now if only Togo didn't have to keep tempting and pushing... perhaps one day.

This new world is... strange. And while the ground is flat and hard enough for her to get around on her wheelchair, Togo finds herself just gazing around. Something about this place is somehow... not surprising, but in the back of her head, she feels rather unsettled. "That's nothing wrong with helping people across streets or getting kittens adopted," protests Togo mildly. She's a little distracted, though. Mention of Japan gets her attention back, and she looks at her own phone. "The dot is moving..."

As Karin gestures, Togo lifts her head, squinting slightly to better see what her fellow Hero Club member is pointing at. "Is that what that is on the phone?" And then she gets a good look at it, and she goes silent, eyes slowly widening as she falls into a thousand-yard stare.
Karin Miyoshi 2015-09-22 02:59:01 10095
    "I didn't say there was. Helping people is fine, but when we have Vertex to fight our time would be better spent preparing for battle," Karin states. She doesn't blame Togo for her attitude at all. After all, she had no idea what she was actually involved in. Living a simple happy life as a normal middle schooler- the newest Hero Club member was willing to let them enjoy their ignorance of their truth. But with this everything changes.

    "It is, and it's up to us to stop it. Odd, I don't see the others on the map..." maybe they're just very far off? She looks momentarily concerned, but quickly shakes her head, "It's just one lone Vertex, so with two of us it shouldn't be too difficult." She smacks the bottom of her fist into her hand, "Listen up! Our goal is to seal and destroy that thing before it reaches there." Karin turns a little and points off into the distance where a large, luminescent yellow treelike thing glows, "That... is Shinju-sama." Her voice is reverent for a moment, but quickly is back to business. "If the Vertex reaches Shinju-sama, the world will be destroyed. We won't let that happen."

    She holds up her phone where Togo can easily see it, failing to notice that thousand-yard stare of horror for being so caught up in herself and the moment. A few taps and there's a black circle with a red flower inside it in the center of the screen, and she presses it.

    Karin transforms, her clothes changing with a red flash into something more fantastic- a red white and black outfit that's half functional fighting garb and half fanciful, with thigh high boots and near shoulder length gloves, but also a sailor suit collar and long white skirt like slips coming from either hip. A large Satsuki Azalea appears on the right side of her chest a moment later, followed by a similar shape on her left shoulder, the same flower but with four empty white petals and a single one filled in red. After a bit of twisting and flourishing a pair of swords appear in her hands- clearly stylized Katana, and she finishes with a pose.

    She looks extremely pumped up, and it hasn't quite gotten past her skull yet that Togo might not be as ready for this as she is. "Your up next! Transform and lets go. Don't worry- I'll do most of the heavy lifting. Together I'm sure we'll hit this thing so hard it won't know what happened!" She'd originally had some doubts about the wheelchair bound girl fighting a Vertex, but she'd received direct word from the Taisha not to underestimate her.
Mimori Togo 2015-09-22 03:27:41 10098
At first, there's no real response. Togo shifts her gaze to look toward the glowing pillar as it's indicated. Huh... so that's Shinju-sama? Though if she weren't so numb right now, she'd probably have more of a reaction to seeing it. She also idly wonders how Karin knows all this when she's never been here before either.

As the other girl transforms, Togo watches carefully, looking from her own phone to Karin and back. "Th..that is impressive, Karin-san." There's still something in her voice, though, a somewhat hollow tone. "Transform?" Togo blinks slowly several times before she realizes that Karin means her. The girl looks down at the blue flower on her phone's screen, then to Karin, then slowly back to her phone. She lifts her hand, one finger reaching for the screen.

Then she looks up at the Vertex and she freezes. "...I can't," comes a very soft voice. Slowly, Togo shakes her head, then repeats a little louder, "I can't!"
Karin Miyoshi 2015-09-22 03:41:13 10100
    The Vertex is off in the distance looking at the same time both extremely far away and enormous. It's odd- considering that it's goal is to destroy Shinju-sama and end the human race in one fell swoop it sure doesn't seem to be doing much.

    "Huh?" Karin is genuinely confused as Togo responds, at first not understanding the dark haired girl's reaction at all. "Your Hero System seems to be working fine. All you have to do is accept your role as a Hero of Shinju-sama and tap that button." A louder repetition, and the actual meaning and Togo's reaction finally sinks in.

    Her eyes narrow a little. "You can. Of course you can- you were chosen by Shinju-sama. You believe in Shinju-sama, don't you? I've seen you pray to the shrine. Shinju-sama protects us all from destruction- you know that. You and me- we're the 'how'. We're Yusha!"

    Unsure that this is going to work, Karin puts her hands on her hips and tries a different tack, "I've told you what happens if we don't. That thing will kill Shinju-sama, and when it does the world dies with it. There won't be a Japan left. Japan will die. The world will die. Everyone in it will die." A short pause and more pointedly she notes, "Yuna-san will die." She steps a little closer and leans in, imposing herself a little over Togo, "Are you going to do nothing and let that happen?"
Mimori Togo 2015-09-22 03:59:45 10104
Of course it's working fine. It's beeping and waiting for Togo to press the button, almost as insistently as Karin herself! And she's trying. Togo's hand still hovers over the phone, shaking. She -wants- to press it.

"O..of course I believe in Shinju-sama. I know all that..." Togo lifts her head, glancing toward the tree, but there's still that look in her eyes as she looks back to Karin. "'re right, of course, Karin-san. I have to do it. It's... it's my obligation!" Her hands are shaking as, once more, she moves her finger toward that blue flower.

And then Karin mentions Yuna, and Togo's eyes go wide again. Her hands freeze, and tears begin to trickle from her eyes. "..huh?" Togo doesn't even realize she's crying until a drop falls on her lap, and she reaches up to wipe it away. "I can't do nothing. I can't... I can't..."

Togo looks up again at Karin... then at the Vertex behind her, and she drops her phoen in her lap, clutching the sides of her head in her hands. "I can't! I..." The words don't want to come out for a moment, and she sobs, squeezing her eyes shut. "I'm afraid! I... I can't... do this..."
Karin Miyoshi 2015-09-22 04:24:06 10108
    It's something Karin doesn't understand. It's not just that she doesn't understand it, it's that she can't. She knows Togo is patriotic. She also know she's the type of person to want to help others. She can see the wish to live up to her 'obligation' and help protect the world- Karin can see it in her eyes.

    But there's also that fear, the unreasonable, horrible fear. And this just isn't something Karin is equipped to even recognized, let alone handle. To fight for Shinju-sama against the Vertex is what she's been training for ever since she was a small child, she pushed herself to the limit and then forced herself to accept newer, harsher limits. All that work just to be recognized as worthy of wielding Shinju-sama's powers.

    And here, right beside her, is someone who seemingly didn't need to expend any of that excruciating effort to be considered worthy of that honor. As much as she would protest to the opposite Karin knows that means Togo is naturally better suited towards it- so why is she so afraid?

    If the Taisha had told her everything about Mimori Togo she might recognize what this is. Instead she only sees simple, unreasonable fear, unable to be overcome. She also knows as the designated leader it should be her job to inspire Togo to act, but despite her best effort it isn't going to work. The failure is as much hers at Togo's.

    Personal failure is unbearable to Karin. Her teeth grit and she glares at Togo as she holds her head. There should be something she can say to get her past the fear. Something to reassure her, or to inspire her. Whatever those words are, she doesn't know them. So instead she does what she always does- redirects the anger and disappointment at herself upon another. "Coward."

    She turns her back on Togo and steps away from her, towards the edge of the high rolling hill they're on. She snorts. "It's not like I need your help, anyway." Her hands grip tightly on her swords and she looks up towards the Vertex with a fierce expression. "I'm the perfectly trained and calibrated warrior. I'm the true chosen Hero of the Taisha. I am the chosen Yusha of Shinju-sama!"

    As forcefully spoken as these words are there's an edge to them, as if she needs to hear them herself. "Yoooooooosh!"

    She crouches down and then leaps, rocketing away at incredible speed with that single jump, quickly becoming a tiny red dot against the pastel sky. As if in reaction, the Vertex begins to move.
Mimori Togo 2015-09-22 04:37:18 10113
She wants to. She knows she -should-. But, try as she might to force herself, Togo just can't. It's more than just a mental decision. Her body is refusing her, as if it knows something she doesn't.

Were she more in focus now, she might recognize the true target of Karin's anger and disappointment, but as it is, that single word is like a knife to her gut. "K..karin-san...?" But it's too late, and the red Hero is off.

Hands still shaking, Togo looks down at the phone dropped in her lap, hoping that Karin is right, that she can handle this on her own. It hurts, having to watch a friend like this, but what can she do? If she were Yuna, if she were as brave as her best friend, Togo knows she'd leap at the chance. Fuu wouldn't hesitate either, if only for the chance to show everyone she can lead by example. And Itsuki would obediently follow, no matter the danger. So why can't she do it? As she watches the red dot approach the larger indicator of the Vertex on her phone's screen, Togo can only cry, repeating that word over and over in sobbing breathes. Coward.
Karin Miyoshi 2015-09-22 04:55:19 10116
    Karin can't dwell on her words or Togo's. She can't dwell on either of their actions. She has no choice but to fight, and it seems today she'll be fighting alone. Were there more than one Vertex that appeared she'd be in very serious trouble.

    As it is it's a battle. On the screen the red dot races around the larger black one of the Vertex. Off in the distance are flashes of light followed by explosions as Karin throws her swords. Chunks are blown out of the creature, but it's resilient nature is shown as the missing pieces are slowly filled back in, completely repaired.

    It fights back, swinging at Karin with it's enormous, oddly shaped legs while it hovers in the air. Another, dimmer flash of red light as she's struck, crashing like a meteor to the ground. The Vertex turns away and seems begins floating inexorably towards Shinju-sama.

gA few moments later Karin is moving again, more determined than ever. She leaps extremely high into the air and then comes crashing down like a meteor, slashing clean through the thin piece of one of it's four legs near it's body and detaching it. The damage is enough to cause the creature to drop to the ground with an enormous clattering.

    Then a moment later there's a spiral of twinkling red magic as Karin begins sealing it, the thing weakened enough by the damage done to allow it to work. The top piece of the Vertex seems to slide open, and a pyramidal object slides out, which Togo's phone will helpfully label as the Vertex' 'Soul'. A large cloud of choking purple-black smoke covers the area, completely obscuring it from view. If Togo watches her phone's map she'd see Karin heading directly for the Soul regardless, and a moment later the cloud of gas disperses. Sparkling, beautiful light twinkles into the sky and the body of the Vertex itself begins disintegrating, crumbling bit by bit and falling to the ground as sand.

    A few moments later there's that same strange rushing of petals, and the two Hero Club members find themselves on the roof of the school. Karin is breathing heavily, and despite looking completely unharmed is holding her left shoulder with her right hand- she wrenched it pretty bad slicing off that leg. "I... did it."
Mimori Togo 2015-09-22 05:25:47 10121
Watching the little blinking dots is a lot easier than trying to watch the actual fight, but Togo still feels her heart clenching in her chest. She doesn't even notice how her hands fold together as she watches that small dot around the larger one.

It isn't until the Vertex is completely gone from the map on her phone that Togo realizes she'd been holding her breath this whole time. Slowly, she looks up, just in time for reality to return once again, and the weight on her heart is almost instantly lessened. Togo can finally breath normally again, though there are still tears on her cheeks from before. "I... I was praying, Karin-san,' she says, a bit sheepishly, avoiding eye contact. Really, how can she look at Karin in the face after seeing the girl hurt her shoulder because Togo was too scared to help?
Karin Miyoshi 2015-09-22 05:45:56 10123
    "Shinju-sama must have heard your prayers, because he sent someone strong enough that you weren't needed this time." Karin replies, not really meeting Togo's eyes either. It isn't spoken or meant especially malicious, but it might be taken that way. Really she's worn out enough that she doesn't really have the heart to rub it in. The magic around her fades away in a brief show of red sparkles and she's once more wearing the uniform of an ordinary, every day schoolgirl.

    She looks around the edge of the roof, checking across the city for signs of damage. She was quick enough in destroying it after the sealing that none are immediately obvious. She lets out a sigh of relief and tests her shoulder- it really isn't that bad and should be fine in a couple days, even if it hurts now. "It's not like I need your help, but you need to think about what happened today, Togo-san." Her green eyes turn away from the city and towards the wheelchair bound girl.

    "I blame myself. I shouldn't have made you find out the truth this way- I'm supposed to be supervising you and leading you to victory. I should have just told you prepared you for this, but I was soft and decided to let the four of you have fun." Turning her eyes back towards the sea she walks over to the edge of the roof. "The next time a Vertex attacks I'll have made sure you're ready. It'll be on you when you make your decision then."