Eclipsed Moon Quest Episode 118
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The faded warmth of sunlight dies on your face as you slowly stir awake. Eyes not adjusted to the afternoon light of your room, you grope around and discover you are above your usual covers and blanket, the throw blanket from the foot of your bed covering you instead in all its provided fuzzy comforts. Lifting yourself up, there is a pull on your head.
Your looped pigtails are in tangled ends, there are probably knots as you feel at your hair in disarray.
It's your room...why does that feel...wrong.
You are Mikage Chiba, second year highschool student fifteen years old, and you are formerly the third woman to be called Sailor Moon. Now you protect the fourth woman to be called Sailor Moon, your younger sister Koyomi, as the mysterious hero known as Eclipse.
Sitting upright, your head swims with glimpses of thoughts not your own. The familiar march of images from when you fed on Tomoe-sensei in the hospital.
Cursing through the familiar sensations, you remember how you likely came to be in your bed. Betrayed and drugged by your teacher and one of your friends...you think that until you get a flash of the scenario from Tomoe-sensei’s perspective as you pass out in front of her to her surprise. That shouldn’t have happened.
Ignoring the argument between your friends around her she in desperate worry inspects you, your fangs extended and eyes...black? Other symptoms, her magic healing touch fails, and she resigns herself in with all the composure she has despite being on the edge of panic as she realizes what is happening. Bringing her wrist to your lips and hoping she could get you to feed.
Feed...when the new enemy appeared, you were exposed to one of their weapons and power sources. It changed you, not in the way the enemy intended, and gave you the ability to consume the supernatural agent they use to transform the innocent into monsters and negative emotions with fangs.
The brief tinge of fear when you drank of her well of negative emotions with sudden fervor and savagery.
The fear in the eyes of your friends, of you or for you?
You are alone in your room. Your clock says it's just after lunch as you sit up and pull your knees to your chest. Stomach rumbling for more physical fare, you do not feel any lingering hungers for negative emotions or darkness.
It surprises you that you might actually need the things you take to function. Especially since you had been avoiding feeding on both the darkness of the enemy and the negative emotions of others.
>Have doubt, fear what you might be becoming
>Persevere, this is just something you have to do
>Rage, why are you alone changed like this but still yourself
>You are beyond caring about what you’ve become, it is what it is
>Cry, this isn’t fair. None of this is fair
>You can’t be yourself right now, be someone else. Who?
>Go back to sleep, you can’t get up yet
>Head downstairs because you need food
>Grab a shower, attempt to futz with your hair
>Go watch some TV as a distraction
>Ignore world, video games
>Secret comics? Secret comics
Have doubt, but try not to fear. We must persevere.
Not against the comics, but should shoot Jade a message. We were supposed the be somewhere she likely is at.
Keep it neutral, we'll decide how to respond to her other actions later.
>Dark is not evil, but lines need to be drawn and caution taken at times.
There is a brief and shallow well of doubt that rises in you, about what you are and what you might be left to become...but it doesn’t matter. You will persevere because it is what you need to do, rolling your shoulders in this resolve you look at your hands and then to your mirror vanity. The eyes that look back at you are red.
It reminds you, that the dark which you embraced within yourself wasn’t evil. It was lost. Alone
While you know this, you also know you carry in you the essence of chaos. This in mind there is caution to be taken, and lines to be drawn.
Well, you will walk those lines. For now you will live.
And right now you will take some time to yourself and do some reading. Secret reading.
Secret steamy reading. Pitching over the edge of your bed, you reach beneath the frame and slide out some of your unread purchases. Laying them out on your bed, you look at the new Shoujo Ai book you picked up and started reading and decide instead to read your steamy romance comic. The one between the young salaryman and his manager.
It will be a wonderful distraction, you think as you crack open the book and lean back.
With a pause, you grab your phone and go to send a message to Midori. You are miffed you likely missed your fitting appointment, but you leave the message neutral. Saying that you are awake, to say hi to Yukiko Akiyama for you and that the two of you need to talk later. When later comes around you can let her know how you feel, properly.
No anger now, you have handsome men in love to read abou-
Oh, you have a message from earlier. From Akiyama-san? Midori told her you’d be unavailable for your appointment so she’s sending you some other times she’s available and tomorrow. It’s from a few hours ago, Midori probably took your appointment. Probably a smart move, the only smart move you think she’s made since sunrise as far as you are concerned.
Convenient, but you are still annoyed how things went. Telling Tomoe-san to spike your tea to help you sleep. It knocked you right the hell out…
Okay, apparently not snacking on enough negative emotions or chaos tainted darkness knocked you out. She still went behind your back.
You settle in with your book, and blush beneath a dopey smile, at the two page splash of a quite contested looking and unexpected kiss at the end of an argument you hadn’t paid close attention to on the previous page.
Oh to be a fly on the wall to something like this.
It balms you, embracing the things you like. A spreading warmth in your chest and-
Your door opens, unexpectedly. With a squeak you reflexively pull your book up close to your face before realizing the cover is on brazen and sordid display and you whip the volume behind your back revealing your embarrassed and guilty blush.
If mom, dad, or Luna caught you with this you could never live it down. Koyomi walking in on you, well you could probably talk your way out of it. Wait.
Standing in your doorway, you register the person standing there in casual clothes and a jacket thrown over a pajama shirt. Her short blonde hair is wavy and all askew. Phone in hand, she crosses the room and sits on your bed.
Eyes crusted as though she literally just woke up, and her gaze upon your unfocused, Midori Mori is obviously not a morning person.
“You wanted to talk?” she yawns.
Why...why is she here? Shit, your secret comics are all over the bed!
>Scramble to hide all the comics
>Play it cool, play it cool
>Distract her, how
>Tackle her so she can’t see the comics
>Chew her out
>Chew on her, see if she even feels bad about this
>Scold her for her underhanded tactics
>You...get why she tried to get you to slow down
>What does she have to say for herself?
You have a snap decision on deck, you need to prevent Midori from seeing your comics. Something to distract her, AHAH!
You dive, arms shooting for her shoulders and you bodily knock her down to your bed. You need to keep her looking up at you and not the bed as you press her shoulders down flat and straddle her. Her eyes shoot wide up at you, uncertain wakefulness turning to shock as you glare down on her in momentary fear and desperation.
[Somewhere else is a Kitten pawing at a sliding glass door for you to open it. It isn’t your house, but it’s getting cooler out so maybe you should let the kitten inside]
Sure you can resolve yourself against being a vessel for cosmic darkness and carry that burden for the sake of others, but risk someone you don’t want knowing seeing your dirtier comics and then you start making panicked bad decisions.
She struggles against you, definitely stronger than you but you overcome her with technique in pinning her knees. Your hands slide down her arms from her shoulders, pulling one of her wrists wide and pinning the other arm taught above her head and forcing your weight down on her.
Her shock slips to a different concern as she thrashes against you uselessly, especially when her eyes settle on her face. It’s still flush and hot in a combination of embarrassment and your enjoyment of your books.
“Miki, what the hell!” she gasps with some difficulty through her struggles.
~Wh-What the hell?~ you find your voice and strength, hoarse and dehydrated from your unexpected sleep, ~What the hell were you thinking, trying to drug me to sleep!?~
You adjust your position as she goes a bit slack beneath you and screws her eyes shut.
This...this isn’t a compromising position at all.
“Oh please, that’s not why you passed out,” she grunts and continues to struggle.
~I’m not finished, Jade!~ you bark closely, ~You could have talked to me, instead you have a shot put in my tea? Now what do you have to say to yourself?~
“Oh fuck you!” she writhes against you and your blush certainly doesn’t deepen, “You’re a stubborn brick wall, and you’ve been running yourself ragged. Not just last night, all goddamn week!”
“That isn’t what? Even when we’re there you try to do so much by yourself. I was actually happy you called us in the middle of the night!” she cries out, “Because it meant you were willing to let us help you with your burdens, but then you just kept running. You kept going. Always more to do and you need to slow the fuck down and I don’t know. ACTUALLY ENJOY YOUR LIFE!”
She’s...angry at you? She has the gall to be angry at you?
>She isn’t wrong...you push yourself too hard
>She has a point, but you are going to milk how upset you are with her, playfully
>Be as stubborn as she accuses you of being, tear her a new one verbally
>You have her dead to rights, punish her a bit
>How does she really feel? Bite
>Hey, this is suggestive, maybe get off her?
>No, this is useful to making a point!
Voting window 4 minutes after first vote
No comments, greentext, line breaks, or punctuation. Just quote this post with the number of your choice. Failure to follow will void your vote.
1 Punish her
2 Bite her, see if she even feels bad
3 verbally tearing her a new one
Ready, steady, a go!
Sadism implies a like for inflicting pain or harm.
This is just written drama and ~fun.
Seriously if I were a sadist things would be much different in my life. Especially recent events.
[Aw, the kitten went straight for its water dish. It-s so cute- wait, that picture on the counter. This is...Chiba-san’s house?! AHAH! Fortune favors your investigation after all. Its a sign, and- and that sounds like a struggle upstairs, and shouting? Familiar voices!?]
She’s panting after her exertion of shouting beneath you, this exercise between you is actually waking her up and she is coming to her senses from the haze of slumber. Maybe she is realizing just what position the two of you are in.
Leaning in close you look down at her angrily. Sharply, and in contrast to the blooming worry within you. She doesn’t blink as you stare into her with the quiet rage you have used so frequently to terrifying even the undead. Is she that hardened against it or do you just lack heart for the task?
~I was going home anyway,~ you scold and shout closely into her as you start to get angry...and then something else as your eyes instead water and cloud out the bite of your words, ~And if you have a problem with how I’m acting, just tell me,~
“Miki,” her expression softens from the worry of your pin on her.
~I can’t trust you if you pull shit like this,~ you start to cry while still trying to keep an angry face, ~I may have lied to you before about who I was...but I told you the truth...and if I can’t trust you how can we do this together,~
Your attempt to be intimidating has been wholly undercut by a welling of great emotion, you are crying out, dipping down into the crook of Midori’s shoulder. She is for a moment confused, and then through the tearful closing of your eyes you can make out an expression of guilt on her features.
“Hey…” she says softly, “I’m sorry I went behind your back,”
~Don’t pull that shit again, I need you. I need to trust you,~ your grip on her wrists slackens and one of her hand goes to your shoulder to steady you.
“Okay, I won’t do anything like that again,” she says guiltily, “I stayed here and caught up on sleep on the couch so I could be here when you woke up,”
She smiles, sadly.
“I figured you’d want to talk,”
Her other hand wraps around your back, the hand that had been on your shoulder wipes at some of the tears that have fallen on her own face from your sudden outburst before pushing your messy and freshly woken hair out of your face.
>She’s your friend, accept her apology and hug her
>Get off of her, this is embarrassing
>Take a taste, just to be sure she feels this way
>She-she isn’t getting off so lightly
[This is...this is an intimate scene! Osaka-san’s assurances might have come from a place of ignorance and you had everything backwards the other day! Sugimoto-san wasn’t having a secret tryst with Chiba-san and Osaka-san, even if it had turned out to be an obvious ploy to draw out all that spider bullshit considering you overheard Mori-san talking complaining about how they’d been running around in circles trying to deal with it. Mori-san and Chiba-san were having a secret tryst!? From the landing of the stairs you have a clear view through the open door into Chiba-san’s room but can’t hear everything. This may be exactly what you need to crack this case wide open! Yes, you certainly aren’t entertaining this idea out of voyeuristic intentions at all]
>Stay where you are
>Get as close as you can
You lean down into her, it’s unspoken but clear that you accept her apology, and wrap your arms behind her back and shoulders while burying your face into the crook of her neck. Her own arms hug you as you knees go slack and you give up trying to pin her with them and release your straddle.
“I really promise I won’t do this again, Miki,” she assures you, “Just...just let it out, okay. And, and take better care of yourself,”
All told, the image is probably from the outside extremely compromising. You hold it for a few moments before you relax your grip and sitting up, removing yourself from on top of her. She uses her now free hands to clear her own messy bedhead out of her eyes as you grope for a tissue from the nightstand. Handing one to her as well so she can wipe some of your tears off her face and from her shoulder and neck.
“Tomoe-san said there was something different about you,” she sits up and splays her arms wide for balance as she kicks her legs back over the side of your bed, her hand hitting something and drawing her eyes down, “That you seem to now actually need to use that power from time to time,”
You nod slowly and hug your pillow between your knees and your chest as you lean up directly against the wall under your dreamcatcher.
~I know...the memories attached to Tomoe-san’s feelings caught up with me when I woke up,~ you admit as you cringe when you realize she’s noticed the now scattered volumes of manga across the bed, her reaction to them is little more than a shrug as you try to get her attention back, ~I’ll probably guilt her about that later. Though rum in tea did taste good,~
She laughs a bit after meeting your eyes, doesn’t take them off of you as her expression turns a bit somber.
“You know, you don’t just need to rely on Kairi for that,” you infer she is talking about your ability to feed on negative emotions, “We both have some baggage if you need it. Just ask, we don’t want to see you let yourself drop like that again,”
~I seem to recall someone saying something about chloroform,~ you sigh and snipe back.
She screws her face in embarrassment.
“Yeah, well it isn’t like I could get the drop on you,” she crosses her arms, “yet anyway,”
~Damn right,~ you toss your pillow at her, ~Nothing gets by me,~
She takes the hit bodily and then lifts it up to heft the weight. She eyes the stack of throw pillows against the wall on the bed conspiratorially.
“You know, in the interest of me just fucking telling you stuff, there is one thing I think I need to touch on again,” she says coyly.
>Let the pillow battle commence
>We should probably go grab some lunch
>Try and clean up the loose manga volumes and neaten up your bed
>Take her up on the offer of baggage
>What do you need to touch on again?
>Can it wait until later, I’m still kind of drained
>If it’s about keeping things from my sister, drop it
Rummaging about before the idea of a pillow fight can fully solidify in Midori’s mind, you set to work on tidying up.
~Here, let me put these away,~ you say calmly and start gathering up your loose manga volumes, ~So, what do you need to touch on again?~
She actually hands you the one she brushed against and nods slowly as she gently tosses your pillow back to the head of your bead. She doesn’t seem to pay the comics, some with flagrantly risque covers, any further mind.
“Well, if we’re going to talk trust...and being open with each other,” she begins hesitantly, “I think you need to tell your sister that you are Eclipse. At this point it’s just kind of silly and hampering our own efforts to run around the younger senshis’ backs about it,”
~Jade, we’ve been over this,~ you say quietly as you slide the manga back under your bed.
[Miki and Jade, are these pet names? She called her something else, it’s too risky to get any closer]
“I know, you have your reasons...but they already know you’re plotting to infiltrate the enemy as Red Eyes for their sake, so why can’t they know you’re doing this too?” she almost pleads to you as you fold your throw blanket.
>I don’t have a good answer, but his is just my hangup
>Brush this concern off entirely
>I will, when I’m ready
>We can tell them, all together
~Anyway, I’m absolutely starved,~ you sigh and Midori nervously turns her head and exposes her neck, ~No, I mean for food,~
“Oh, okay then,” she relaxes and stands up, “What did you have in mind?”
You lead her out of the room and down the hallway to the stairs.
~Well, we have some convenience store sandwiches in the fridge,~ you explain as the two of you pass the curtseying and bowing maid with Little Diana sitting on her head and walk down the stairs, ~and fruit, or I could make something or see if there are any leftovers...oh, we still have a ton of pizza we froze last week. If none of that sounds good we could always get cleaned up and get something nearby,~
“Pizza might be good,” Midori reasons, “Though its your house, and you’re the one who is probably hungrier, I’ll leave the decision to you,”
~Hmm,~ you pause and think to yourself as the two of your stand in the living room.
>Reheating some pizza
>I’m going to cook something
>Let’s just snack on some fruit
>Let’s go out to *insert place here*
>Wait a second, we don’t have a maid…
Yeah I think it was Zoicite. I was personally favoring Koito (he's the other one who resonates with Zoicite) in that slot, as a way to get him into the action but Saori could be funny.
~We can tell them,~ you say calmly and with some resignation, she is right about this after all and she’s been right for a while.
If you’d played things better and closer to the chest and more secretly you might have gotten by, but you’re going to have to come clean to them sooner rather than later or coming out might be ugly. God forbid they oust the truth on their own, that would just be devastating.
~All together,~ you think to yourself, ~I’ll see if we can get them together all at once tonight, otherwise they’re coming together Sunday for a group training session under Tomoe-san and myself,~
“Might be fun to sit in on that,” Midori reasons, “After the last few fights I realized I was still a little rusty,”
~Well, you did give up the promising life of a no good street fighting delinquent to be a respectable girl,~ you say quite surely and in fanciful jest as you stride into the kitchen, ~Then again I think you got out at the right time, I doubt you’d have liked running into me during the early days of the beast,~
“Come on, I bet it would have been a dead heat,” she boasts and sits down on the kitchen island in one of the higher chairs and you give you a nonplussed look of disbelief, “Okay, fine, but I wouldn’t have made it easy for you,”
~Sure,~ you say, actually uncertain of how such an early frey between the two of you would have gone, ~I think I’ll cook something. I’ve got plenty of ingredients and a fresh meal actually sounds pretty good right now,~
“Fine by me,” she says and stretches her back a bit, “Ugh, I think I fell wrong when you tackled me,”
~Yeah, I think I overreacted a little there. Glad I didn’t make too much of a mess for the-~ you laugh nervously as you pull out a package of tiny sausages and then freeze, ~Wait a second...we don’t have a maid…~
“You don’t have a mai-” Midori asks in confusion as to what you could even mean about a maid as an overlooked thought catches up to her and her eyes go wide.
Standing from the kitchen island with a start, Midori follows you as thunder trailing a lightning bolt out of the kitchen and up the stairs into your room. The sight that greets you is an odd one, the upturned short ruffled skirt juts out from under your bed as the mysterious figure rummages beneath your frame where you keep your secret manga collection.
The outfit is obviously large on her, as her butt sticks up and out from underneath as see the blue and white striped print of her underwear as she tries to wiggle her way deeper under your bed. Little Diana is balanced against one of the legs of this interloper, batting with one paw at an unfastened clasp probably meant to connect to stockings she isn’t wearing.
You and Midori greet this sight with...confusion?
>Kick her butt
>Drag your mystery guest out from under your bed
>Ask them, in a calm voice what they’re doing
>Begin shouting, WHO THE HELL IS THIS?!
>Cast a spell
>Use a power
Someone...someone snuck by you and into your home. You’d be impressed if you weren’t on the verge of being consumed with rage. What are they searching for, the only thing under your bed is bottled water and and your private manga collection.
You glance over to Midori and notice she has manifested her short sword on the run into the room, waving her off of it, she dismisses the blade and the two of you tae position on either side of the figure digging around on all fours. Little Diana pauses in her paw batting of the clasp and instead hops away and onto your desk with a soft mew.
“Shh, kitty, I’ll just be a minute,” the voice calls in a muffled whisper from beneath your bed.
~And in that minute, just what are you doing?~ you ask as calmly as you can.
The figure goes rigid and jumps, there is a thunk as she likely banged her head on the underside frame of your bed. Their skirt flutters and vibrates in response to her knees shaking in sudden fear.
“House keeping?” the muffled voice offers.
Unamused, you and Midori grab the figure around the waist and pull her out from beneath the bed, turning her mid pull to see her face.
This action is successful, however you pull the single piece outfit down on her, pinning her arms inside the broad neckline of the outfit and revealing how under dressed she is within this oversized compilation of cheap fabric. The two of you are surprised to be met with Saori Umeki.
“Uh...h-hi?” she ventures, “Why...this isn’t my...part time job?”
And she is very bad at lying.
>You can't deal with this, she and Midori have history, let her talk to her
>Calmly try to talk to Saori Umeki about why she's in your room in crappy cosplay?
>Say nothing, let her dig her own grave
>Rage, why is she in your ROOM?!
>Wait...did she overhear...oh no!
Midori looks like she’s about to verbally lash out in confusion at whatever it is that Umeki-san just rattled out. Instead you shoot her a look indicating your intent before you stare down at your prisoner, trapped in her own oversized clothing.
Your silent void of words an invitation to try again to answering her original question. Midori isn’t holding her down, but the girl does go and close your bedroom door.
While you could be concerned with what she knows, you doubt she can contain herself about what she may or may not have learned. At least if your experience at the Crowne with her was anything to go by.
“It’s not what it looks like!” she pleads, her stutters and inability to communicate subsumed in what you imagine to a rush of adrenaline, “Okay maybe it kind of is what it looks like. I saw you stash some manga under your bed and I was curious to see what it was,”
You are not impressed, and narrow your eyes.
~To rephrase,~ you say calmly, ~What are you doing?~
“Yes, what am I doing...that is a very complicated question, why I’m even here,” she laughs to herself and lifts her head, letting the tied off bonnet to slide back and underneath her with her hair, “I mean...why are any of us here?”
Midori crouches down, no doubt in mimicry of old delinquent loitering behavior.
“Nngh,” the bag eyed girl groans in worry before the flood gates open in truth as she unleashes with speed and diction at a rate she normally reserves, not that you know, for talking about shows or comics she likes, “I was running all around town this morning investigating everything that recently happened at our school and it starts with our junior high graduation and Sailor Moon. Our Sailor Moon, not the new one. She’s alive. She isn’t dead like the rumors say, she’s totally alive and working with Osaka-san and I saw her when she saved me from being a monster but I think you both already knew that because you two are so down with Osaka-san and the four of you with Sugimoto-san are suddenly all thick as thieves and super secretive conspiratorial. I spent all day yesterday doing research on Sailor Moon, the new one, and other things. Sailor Mercury and Sol and their fight with the Red Eyed Beast, the Beast’s other fights, people who were at Tokyo Tower, and a few of the spider possessed people. I remember enough of when I was a monster to know that there were enemies they were keeping track of and that the beast was something other monsters were afraid of after Supaku and her horse faced thingy ran up against her to try and kidnap her classmate because she has latent magical potential so I went to Zodiac, and Infinity, and talked to street toughs, and then I went back to the place where I saw this weird thing I know the bad guys made but forget what it was for but it was a person in a pickle jar with red eyes and I think that was important to Sailor Moon and Osaka-san,”
She takes a deep breath as you sit her up against the bed, adjusting the fallen top of her outfit so her probably unnecessary bra is no longer exposed. She is still taking deep breaths on the verge of hyperventilating.
“I thought it was all connected back to you,” she turns to you and then Midori, “The way you were talking about her and how important she was and other vague stuff when she was passed out after the spider smackdown, but I didn’t know what any of it meant so when talking to some delinquent girl at zodiac who supposedly fought the beast she offered me a cigarette and then I lit myself on fire and-”
She pauses...looking back and forth between you both before slowing down and becoming red faced.
“Oh...uh...after that I had to steal these clothes and try to get home so I started climbing fences so no one would see me on the main drag. Then I got caught in some rose bushes and found a kitten and it was cute and it was all affectionate and I played with it in a really nice garden for a bit,” she admits in some blushing embarrassment, “but then it pawed at the door and looked at me like it wanted me to let it in...so I did...and then I saw the picture of you and your family on the counter and I thought it was fate. No other reason I would be given the opportunity to snoop around your house, but then I heard shouting and…”
She squirms, uncomfortably and then finds some resolve she didn’t know she had as she dares sudden daggers at Midori.
“How could you?” her eyes shift over to you again, “And how could you? How could both of you do this to Sugimoto-san? I mean, unless this is an open thing...or you threaten me with silence? You know what, NO! It doesn’t matter what freaky lesbian torture punishment games you subject me too I will err on the side of justice. You won’t be able to ply me with your perfect skin and attractive bodies!”
You both stare at her, positively dumbfounded.
“Oh...though if you want to bribe me I could be persuaded if you let me borrow a few books, Chiba-san,” she says suddenly calm and sly, “You have surprisingly not shit tastes,”
>Write in, because what the fuck was that
>WHAT WHAT WHAT.
>Wait, WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT KEIKO!?
.... What? [Groans while holding forehead] Seriously, what the hell goes through that head of yours to come up with that. [In stage whisper to Midori] And I thought Keiko's monster fangirl was crazy. Hey Little Di, go find your mother, because you don't need to see this.
>(Perfect Lie) You’re Crazy.
>Obvious proof of your falsehood still reveals the lie for what it is, but in absence of proof, those who hear your lie believe it.
Actually I’ll go with:
Just...you groan. How could anyone think. And what was that final part about Keiko?
Oh god what…
Midori is faring no better than you, her face blank and slowly contorting into confusion and concern. She can’t even begin to form words, and you aren’t far behind her. Saori Umeki’s diarrhea of the mouth illustrated a number of important points both out there in the world and what this girl specifically has been exposed to.
Holding onto your forehead, you debate what to do.
~You’re crazy,~ you accuse as you release your forehead and sit down next to the girl.
“Tell me about it, my parents have had me in therapy since I was six,” she complains as she leans her head away from you and rolls her eyes.
~No,~ you groan again, ~I mean what the hell goes through your head that you come up with all of that?~
“I’m observant with an overactive imagination,” she shrinks a bit and then shrugs, “And even if you aren’t as involved as I think you are, I know I’m onto something here,”
You sigh and look over to your kitten, watching from the desk.
~Little D, go find your mother,~ you motion for Midori to open the door back up, ~You don’t need to see this,~
“Mew,” she hops away and out the door as Midori still stares at Umeki-san, dumbstruck.
You’ve no choice. With a resignation you can’t believe you slide your hand behind the sickly thin girl’s back, prompting her eyes to widen as she watches where you hand disappears to. She becomes crestfallen as you lean in such a way to show you are reaching down and underneath your bed instead of where she thought you were reaching. You do not need an over active imagination to know she was expecting your hand to be going for beneath her skirt.
Sliding your knocked over stacks out from their hiding places, you spread them out before the girl who understands and begins sifting through your pile eagerly and with glee.
There, it’s over. It’s done. You can only imagine Kairi and Keiko laughing at the two of you for these shenanigans.
“So, I heard you talking about lunch?” she queries as she sets her selected stack aside.
>Go home, Umeki-san
>Yes, PLEASE join us for lunch
>Say nothing, go downstairs
>Midori and I weren’t having sex
~Yes,~ you sigh and decide you don’t want this girl out of your sight just yet, ~PLEASE join us for lunch, Umeki-san,~
Your annoyingly strained stomach punctuates the invitation with a certain rolling gurgle. Leading the two of them back down to the kitchen you entertain the idea of telling her that you and Midori were having sex, that she was welcome to join you next time, and then take it back and tell her that seriously the two of you weren’t having sex. Imagining the steam rushing out of her ears only for the metaphorical rug to be pulled out from under her gives you a certain amused rise.
“Yes, I haven’t eaten at all today,” she smiles and laughs nervously.
You’d be on a roll with it too, considering you’d follow up with a pun about the rug being pulled out from her and somehow make it about- something lewd and dirty.
Crap, now you’re thinking about what it would be like to follow through on the subject of your joke.
Midori remains a certain shade of quiet as the three of you head downstairs.
~You know, Umeki-san, as your friends we should help teach you how to be sociable and some basics of tact,~ you reason as you enter the kitchen and pick up where you left off on preparing a meal.
“R-really?” she questions, dubiously.
She’s right to question that as you pull a broad knife out of the block to do some slicing, brandishing it threateningly before turning to the cutting board.
~First lesson is NOT BREAKING AND ENTERING!~ you poignantly scold before dicing some peppers for a quick stir fry with some pre cut steak strips you are going to fry up.
She squeaks back as you turn away from her, Midori actually breaking her stunned silence to laugh as you get to work on making this simple meal. While you work, and it is a labor of at least time, the two old adversaries feel out talking to one another.
“Mikage and I weren’t having sex,” she clarifies to the taller girl who for once isn’t slouching.
“Yeah, sure,” Umeki-san says quietly and glances away, “I already have the manga. Lips are sealed,”
“No, we weren’t having sex,” Midori says again.
You think she isn’t slouching because otherwise the maid outfit would just crumple straight off of her, you notice she is fidgeting with the apron belt.
“Well, yeah. I see it now, she looks like she’s been crying,” Umeki-san shrugs and you almost cut your finger, she sounds more bored than awkward, “She was the one who looked all aggressive so I doubt she’d be all teary eyed about it if the two of you were,”
“Unless that’s a thing with her,” Umeki-san muses, “Chiba-san is that-”
She pauses when you turn to her, the knife catching the afternoon light outside.
“Sooooooooooooooo,” she changes the subject, “Mori-san, do you read any manga?”
“No, not really,” she explains and then offers with a mischievous smile, “Though apparently I’ve got a friend with decent tastes,”
After the two talk, for what feels like too long, you’ve managed to make your beef stir fry. Portioning it out for your guests and unloading rice from the rice cooker, you considering getting back into the flow of conversation.
>Offer suggestions to Midori, you know a few good fashion manga
>Open pandora’s box...poor choice of words, ask what are some comics Umeki-san likes
>You did promise to explain that shadow to Umeki-san, but how…
>Eat lunch silently
>Ask why Umeki-san’s been in therapy since she was six
>Offer suggestions to Midori, you know a few good fashion manga
We can tread the line into steamier ones as we agree or disagree with comments Umeki adds in.
Also, request your General's quietly verify the theory that Umeki is compatible, while we figure out what to say to her about that.. if she even remembers.
~On the matter of my tastes,~ you regard Umeki-san first and then Midori as you set the plates out in front of them along with utensils and some juice, ~I know a few fashion manga you might like,~
“Just because I like fashion doesn’t mean I’ll read manga about fashion,” she sighs but smiles all the same, "Two completely different things,"
“Then what? Street fights and eye candy?” Umeki-san asks after struggling with a piece of beef that wasn’t tearing quite so easily from her chopsticks, “Is that fresh ginger in the glaze?”
You stare at her a moment.
~You watched me make it, yes there’s fresh ginger,~ you roll your eyes.
“Yes...yes you did,” she regards you through narrowed eyes and chews thoughtfully, “Hmmm?”
It isn’t your best, but the two of them seem to like it. You especially are happy to have something inside of you to quiet your hunger. Though with what you’ve learned recently about your other hungers, you frustratedly sigh at the realization you’ll probably need to sate that again soon to avoid passing out again.
You don’t much like passing out.
“You know, yeah that does appeal to me,” Midori reasons as she separates water chestnuts off to the side of her plate.
~Well, then I can give you a list of things to check out,~ you smile, ~Not stuff I read regularly, but there’s stuff full of street fighting and eye candy,~
You pause in thought as you crunch through a piece of pepper. WIth a mental whisper you ask Zoisite to quietly observe the girl sitting across from you and confirm her potential.
~Old and new,~ you think, ~There’s an older comic called Ikki Tousen which is supposed to be based on Romance of the Three Kingdoms but with highschool girls instead of generals,”
“Yeah, anime lasted a few years,” Umeki-san agrees, “Very fanservice heavy,”
“I’ll give it a look,” Midori considers before pausing to give an unhappy look at her ring.
“Hey. Chiba-san, Mori-san,” Umeki-san queries over her meal, “Who are Miki and Jade?”
You and Midori both find yourselves choking on delicious mouthfuls of your meal.
>Change the subject, to what?
>Divulge some secrets, of the fashion circle
>Lie, how do you lie?
>stay quiet, see how Midori answers
You’ll leave this matter to Midori. Having already decidedly come out as Miki to the least likely people to keep a secret, you have no care in the matter if it starts trickling out that the famed Princess No was also a ganguro fashionista and scene girl. Actually you do care, for the sheer amount of shock to be on people’s faces.
Granting Midori a differing gesture, the girl rolls her eyes and groans as she turns her attention to Umeki-san.
“Jade is a handle,” Midori explains and unbottling at least her own identity, “I’m active in the ganguro scene,”
“Okay,” Umeki-san questions as she dumps her rice bowl unceremoniously into the remnants of her stir fry to grasp at the sauce, “And Miki?”
“The handle of a friend of mine from a fashion circle who I was surprised to learn was someone else I knew when not in makeup and wig,” she says giving an faux annoyed glare across the table.
You smile to yourself as your finish off your plate as you feel Umeki-san’s confused and then surprised eyes on you.
“Oh,” the slightly less invisible girl reaches a point of realization, “That’s kind of surprising,”
She sighs and hangs her head back away from the table.
“Argh,” her hands rise up to clutch her face as she undoes the bowed bonnet of her pilfered maid cosplay, “This social dynamic just gets more confusing all the time,”
~It’s not so bad,~ you comment and bring your plate over to the sink.
“You’re at the center,” she whips up and quickly finishes the last of her sauce soaked rice, “Of course you’d say that,”
“It is maddening,” Midori complains in flagrant jest before fixing her eyes on you at the counter, “Though you get used to it. I wonder how used to it you’ll have to get, Umeki-san,”
Rinsing off the plate in your hands, you see the image of Zoisite appear in the rushing water. He gives you a silent nod to his discovery.
“I have a chart,” Umeki-san explains before offering Midori a side glance before focusing back on you and being intentionally vague, “You really are a link between everything...and pending what you’d said you’d explain to me I think you might complete the whole puzzle,”
Midori brings her plate to the sink beside you, a tension mounts in the room…
Saori Umeki by circumstance of presence at more than a few inconvenient places knows a great deal. Perhaps a dangerously great deal. She could yet prove a great friend and confidant, further still an attendant of your court if you think her capable of the task.
>Explain a small part of the shadow she saw, what beats?
>Make up a lie about the shadow, what do you say?
>Present to her an inconvenient truth, though you lack a slide show
>Change the subject, therapy, she mentioned something about therapy
>Cast a spell or use a power
Recuitment didn't really come up, but with how strongly she's getting drawn in, there's some stuff that needs to be addressed.
Though I'm wondering about this therapy thing before we open up.
Also wondering if team Moon Cat has something like an MiB memory flasher, if needed.
I swear not even Samsonite can keep you guys out of my notes.
Well yeah. I mean the girl obviously has a knack for putting things together. Saori is literally what Hi-Int with good insight and perception and low charisma looks like
Feel like it was mentioned as an idea before..
though mining the players for ideas is a time honored GMing technique.
I thought we weren't still mad at Jade?
Not a bad choice for the job though.
And low wisdom.
Now, is not the time to make that decision.
While you remain curious about why she’s been in therapy since she was little, and you entertain using that curiosity to distract her from this course, you did promise her an explanation.
~That shadow you saw on the wall and floor most certainly won’t turn you back into a monster,~ you begin, with a certain flatness to your voice and heedless of Umeki-san’s concern for Midori’s presence.
Turning from the sink, Midori Mori taking her turn to at least rinse her dish, you approach the kitchen island carefully and sit back down across from the still ridiculously dressed girl. She is attentive, though her eyes briefly dart to Midori’s back. You can almost imagine her thought process right now, correctly assuming that the blonde girl behind your is already aware of what you are telling her now.
She doesn’t ask any questions, she just looks at you. The metaphorical floor is yours to use, and you’ll weave an incomplete picture and keep some of your secrets. Likely she is saving any queries for the end.
~It is a kind of benevolent spirit,~ you remember what Yoshi said in Umeki-san’s presence as well, ~One of two I hoped could help find the source of and identify the threat of the spiders early among other things during that engagement,~
Your succinct explanation finished, Saori Umeki studies you carefully. After an extended silence after you spoke, the careful study turns to scrutiny as she speaks again. Midori returns to the table having finished her business at the sink.
“Did you call them?” she begins carefully, “Are you magic? Why could I and Sakurada-san see one or the other when no one else could?”
~I’ve said all I really can say right now,~ you sigh and offer her an earnest smile, ~And whether I have everything I need to answer those questions remains to be seen. I hope you can accept that,~
“Well she isn’t brandishing a knife at me,” the girl mumbles to herself and you offer an embarrassed and nervous laugh.
“Says the girl who broke into her house,” Midori laughs more earnestly.
“The door wasn’t locked and the kitten was giving me sad eyes!” the girl counters before having a spark of realization, “Wait a second!”
...oh, this will probably be painful or entertaining.
“Your kitten left the room when you asked it too,” she reasons and her eyes go wide, “And you might be magic,”
“Where is she going with this, you think?” Midori asks you as Umeki-san rises from her chair with a start and paces back and forth.
~I have no idea,~ you say with some concern.
She spins on her heel and points an accusatory finger at you with no small amount of pride.
“Mikage Chiba you are secretly the leader of a coven of witches!” her declaration echoes through the room before she begins muttering to herself, “Good witches, I think. Now things are starting to come together. Next I need figure out the hard connection between pickle jar lady and the Red Eyed Beast,”
Once again, you can’t even…
Midori bursts into laughter beside you. Her finding this funny is further evidence of her continued treachery against you. Okay, it actually is funny but you don’t want to so blatantly admit it.
Well, now is as good a time as any for her to leave...then again you are still curious about gaining a more clear picture of the girl in front of you even as she cackles in assumed victory. More than that, it offends you to think of her running around dressed like that.
>Well, we leave you to it, Umeki-san. Have a good day
>Umeki-san, before you go...I can’t let you leave dressed that way in good conscience
>Say, we’ve really just been talking about us, what were you in therapy for, Umeki-san
>You liked my tastes, would you recommend any manga or doujins?
>Et tu, Jade
If she's going to jump to the conclusion that we're a witch, we may as well hex her. And since she's that crazy, we can just make up a hex and tell her its on, and she'll probably buy it. We won't even have to use any real magic.
Kinda reminds me of Atsali from Wapsi, except Umeki is better at reading people but even worse at conclusions. And no boobs.
>How the hell can you be on the ball one minute, then get run over by the same ball?!
After a moment, she seems to calm herself down. Midori, for all her involvement in this continues to be bemused by the whole affair. Well, she’s taking the time to relax...and so should you.
It just so happens one of your hobbies is the art of the makeover.
~Umeki-san, before you go...I can’t let you leave dressed that way in good conscience,~ you explain and the exulting girl freezes.
“W-w-wait,” her stutter returns, “You’d l-l-l-let me borrow...clothes?”
~Among other things,~ you shrug and take her cleared plate and briefly rinse it off in the sink as she stares at you dumbfounded, ~I’m sure you’re just as busy as we’re going to be today so let’s get started,~
“This should be interesting,” Midori comments, “Do you want my input or do you have some ideas of your own?”
~Oh, I have some ideas,~ you explain simply, ~but while I’m working on her could you help unknot my hair?~
She smirks at you, a joke likely on her tongue. You narrow your eyes in anticipation.
“Sure, I’ll grab a brush and give you the royal treatment,” it hurts, but you smile anyway.
~Come on, Umeki-san,~ you smile slyly leading the girl by the shoulders back to the stairs, ~We have such sights to show you,~
“Friends who are willing to lend me clothes,” she mutters to herself with speed and anxious worry, “This is uncharted territory. Are they going to make a pass at me? Should I make a pass at-”
“No passes are being made, Umeki-san,” Midori scolds the girl with an exasperated sigh as she picks up your brush from the vanity.
The outfit ideas you have for Saori Umeki aren’t too complicated. In fact it will be downright easy to dress her, the real concern will come after. Selecting a long sweater dress that hangs off of her like a loose sweater, a blouse with a tight neckline, and jeans you used to wear before your growth spurt that you jury rig into capri pants on her you manage to craft a very straightforward and basic look.
Getting the girl out of her stolen cosplay itself proves and embarrassing endeavor for her. Though she relents, and is dressed, but seems disappointed her chastity wasn’t targetted.
You set to work on her hair whilst Midori undoes your loops and buns and begins brushing your imperially long sea of pink tresses out. Saori is actually wowed by how your hair looks unbound, though terrified that you might be able to use your witchy powers to animate it into a writhing pink armada of death.
The imagination on this girl. As Midori regrets agreeing to unknotting your hair, for reasons of cubic measures of space, you move to ask a question that’s been on your mind all afternoon.
~So...we’ve spent so much time today talking about me and Mori-san today that we didn’t get much chance to talk about you, Umeki-san,~ you start in a friendly manner, ~You mentioned therapy earlier, what were you in therapy for any how?~
You feel her go rigid beneath your ministrations. It was hard enough getting her to stop slouching while you worked, you have a certain loathing for her posture and how it distorts her. She begins awkwardly, but straight to the point.
“Well, I-I m-mean I don’t talk about it much but,” she takes a steadying breath as you fold and braid her long and greasy hair, also applying a no rinse cleansing agent as you go, “but my big sister died when I was six years old,”
Midori pauses in her brushing of your hair. Her voice echoes behind you forlornly.
“Is that why you were ready to forgive me when I talked about my mo-”
“Yes,” she nods firmly and on reflex, undoing the layer of braid you were just working on, “She even made the choice for her own death too...”
“I’m sorry you also had to live through that,” Midori ventures carefully and you restart the folding and layering, “suicide of a loved one is difficult to deal with,”
“It wasn’t suicide. It was her choice and my fault,” there is a resignation in her voice, “Everyone told me for years it wasn’t...but I know what happened. I was playing, I ran out into the street, and there was a truck,”
The conjured image in your mind provides a clear picture of why Umeki-san usually seems so skittish and jumpy.
“She was my big sister, by about eight years,” she admits, “It was a huge age difference but I always adored her,”
Saori leans back into you a bit as her shoulders tighten beneath the sweater and then go slack.
“Sometimes I look at myself and wonder,” you finish the braid and then place a decorative hairband on top of her as you lay the braided tail over her shoulder, “I wonder if what she did was worth it...all the nothing I usually do with this life,”
~Don’t think that,~ you offer her somber comfort as you apply a base foundation of makeup and set about concealing her bags and touching up her face, a difficult task the way her expression changes so quickly and the additional occasional pull of Midori brushing your knots.
You think you understand why her mother appeared so doting as to inspire jealousy in Midori when the two first met.
“Why shouldn’t I?” she gruffs, “It’s taken me this long to find friend and it’s plain as day the two of you still find me annoying,”
~So? That’s just one of the things you accept about people when it comes to friendship and love. Besides, ~ you spin your desk chair so she faces the mirror of your vanity, narrowly you avoid some of your own stray strands getting caught in the mechanics beneath the seat, ~I think she’d like to see the young woman you’ve become,~
She stares at herself in the mirror for a solid minute in mute shock. The only thing moving are her eyes as she scans and drinks in her appearance. You rather appreciate what you’ve done, and she seems to like it.
“That’s...me?” she reaches out for the silvered glass and touches it a moment in disbelief.
Disbelief...a word that lingers on your memory.
Eclipsed Moon Quest Episode 118
NOW I MUST GO FOR I HAVE AN 8am CLASS TOMORROW!
Oh god I put a hit out on myself! When did I put a hit out on myself? Well, everyone in my group is smart...they'll know I didn't actually mean- (arrow lands in wall beside her)
AHHHHHHHHHHHHH, Mikage help! Fixit fixit fixit fixit
There was a wide array of directions this thread could go, between choice and variables.
I'm glad everyone had fun and am quite happy on where I was able to end.
Though backtracking a bit. Had you gone for the Saori thread last thread, I would have delivered a better reveal for Saori's backstory trauma.
I think we should partner Koito with a Shintennou because Saori is not a fighter. But with some training in the mystic arts she could be an incredible spy-master.
Interlude AND Comedic Aside (Interlude)
Well he's most likely at least familiar with fighting, being the son of two avid martial artists. I also feel pretty bad for the guy considering he should totally be involved in this fight but isn't because he's been left out of a legacy that should by and large be his birthright save he was born the wrong gender.
You walk slowly through the stronghold, taking stock of the presence of both the human and shadow operatives and agents roaming the halls with their tasks. Since the establishment of the company the number of agents set toward your glorious purpose have swelled, though their loyalties cannot be fully counted upon. Still, you’ve sacrificed too much to worry about that now.
The servos in your right leg stall, and you find yourself paused and gripping the guardrail of a catwalk overlooking the throne room hallway. It comes and goes, the technology is ancient and becoming unreliable...you’ve long had the option to become your own shadow that you may act without such limitations, but you need to be possessed of a certain mental clarity for your mission. So much time passed, but it will all be worth it?
“Is it still giving you trouble?” a voice calls behind you in saccharine concern.
Turning, you see the blue features of Borealis. Now oversized hands resting in the pockets of his ragged labcoat.
“I’m not a mechanic,” he shrugs shoulders wider than the pauldrons on your shoulders, “but I do have a general knack,”
“I don’t need your help,” you say succinctly as you watch your resurrected comrades march into view below toward the throne room proper.
“Suit yourself,” the hulking figure shrugs and takes a look over the edge, watching with some interest as the gates open to the throne room, bathing the hall in purple glow.
This power, the power your sworn liege has stolen from those who destroyed what was once your home, it will be a vehicle of rebirth for the whole of this world.
“Hmm,” Borealis muses to himself, “It’s a bit early for a recharge given their operating schedule,”
You watch in silence as the gates close behind Amazonite, Hematite, and Kalunite. The monstrous professor isn’t in the wrong on this, he wouldn’t tease this query if he didn’t already know.
“It is preparatory,” you explain in such a way to ensure he doesn’t know you are onto him, “Between the assets out of control, the unexpectedly bolstered forces of the new Sailor Senshi, and the wildcard that is the Red Eyed Beast...he wishes to increase their energy thresholds,”
The bemused shadow strokes his chin, and smiles broadly. He doesn’t act like the others...he likely expected to be turned against his will. It is most likely he made preparations within himself and is free from the enforced loyalty in the other shadows of the cause. Still, he serves the cause…
“Really? Well, if the master thinks that is a sound course of action,” he paces off into the dark, “who am I to disagree,”
You watch him until he is gone from the catwalk, your servo returns to function.
There is much to be done.
Our point of view's systems.
Maybe, but feels a bit different. Though our interaction with him has been light, perhaps I've misread him.
My current thought is that we've had a glimpse of the mysterious element that connects to the various puzzle pieces together. The one that knew the ancient world and is bringing these elements together.
The question is whether they are someone we have heard of before.
Is this the survival without reincarnation Jewel Thief referenced in the panel, or did he survive in an undamaged capsule and this is the one that unsealed him?
Is this Chau's true identity? A survivor of the old world supported by ancient technology? Or is this the force that recruited and taught him so to form the company that supports their actions?
Is this some yet unnamed person? And it seems he has been active for some time, but likely not the entire course of history, where has he been? Where has any of this been hiding away? And what makes now the moment of action?
Was the defeat of Chaos or Metallia the trigger for their release and only know have they rebuilt their strength to this point?
Also, is the boy is the source of the corruption and/or glowing shadow that is referred to as his liege? Or is he refering the the liege of ages past? And what is the boy's relationship to the royal family?
See? So many new questions!
Borealis, mad scientist turned shadow monster without hardcode loyalties. May have had a hand in Magician and/or his work.
Hiddenite, survivor from the the ancient Earth Kingdom, had been with the Royal Guard but was not highly placed enougj for the Four Generals to recall. Knew the other Neo-Shitennou in life, particularly Amazonite. Serves as the mostly covered Jewel Thief.
Chau, head of a major multinational company with deep fingers into PIT groups, also major contributor to aid & relief organizations. Seems to be who Jewel Thief reports to and who funded Borealis' research efforts as a human.
Comedic Aside: featuring Saori Umeki
Having left Chiba-san’s house...the world stretches wide before you in a decidedly new and terrifying way. The way her clothes are arranged, it actually feels uncomfortable to slouch, so you’ve been walking upright since you left.
It casts the world in a different light, and people...see you…
They don’t always notice you, but you get acknowledgement in passing. You don’t know how to deal with this. Maybe you should hurry home using the train instead of running across town exposed like this.
No, you’d probably get molested on the train now that people seem to notice you.
...maybe you should take the train?
No, getting home isn’t the concern anymore. You still have plenty else to do. There is research and investigations to continue. Though one concern lingers in your mind as a weight dragged ahead of you. Holding the bag containing the manga you borrowed from Chiba-san and the Maid costume ahead of you...you are conflicted.
Despite the clothes the Great Witch Chiba has given you, and the obvious glamor upon your features, you don’t know what you are going to do with that oversized maid outfit.
You can’t just throw it out, even if the materials are cheap it was made to a custom fit and looks pretty good. Taking it in would involve talking to a seamstress and explaining in some fashion how you came to possess it; that is far too awkward a circumstance for you to fathom dealing with. Trying to return it runs the risk of explaining yourself to a stranger, and besides the awkwardness of that encounter which you want to avoid there exist the possibility of the girl pressing charges or laying into you violently.
In your experience, an angry marshmallow girl isn’t afraid to throw her weight around.
Nothing, you can figure out nothing to do that would solve this dilemma without talking to someone for more than a few seconds.
...you spy an ice cream cart vendor and are struck with inspiration. Acutely aware of how filling the delicious meal Chiba-san made you is your form a plan. There is your solution to the Maid uniform dilemma!
Two hours from now, you will have abandoned this plan as explaining yourself to the EMT proves far more embarrassing.
Comedic Aside End
I want to make a joke in response to that sentiment here...but it is made of spoilers as it directly references a strategy to overcome one of the current possible end game scenarios.