Pearly Gates 1: Rise And Shine

From Magical Girl Noir Quest Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

The trees towered in front of her, clawing their way towards an alien sky. All spikes, thorns and sharpened branches, a humanoid silhouette suspended from every single one, perfectly still, almost serene. Somewhere, the soft calls of a songbird filter through the canopy and the cool air. She casts her eyes left and right, searching for someone else, some sign of life in this expanse, only to notice the shadow above her a moment too late. The screech comes first, before the talons. Trying to back away, she finds herself pinned, held down by some unseen weight. The shadow hurtles towards her, seconds away from-

Ah, of course.

Dreams. What a pain.

Megumi Minakata claws her way back into the waking world with a stream of sleepily muttered oaths, rising just quickly enough to hit her head on the bottom of the bed above. Every time. Really, it wasn't the pain so much as the way it almost made not being able to remove her helmet seem like a good idea. Embarrassing, that's what it was.

...Right. No wonder she couldn't move. Too late to take back any of what she said a moment ago; hopefully none of it was heard, at least. Had to show a little restraint somewhere, she was a bad enough influence as it was.

"Hey, sprout," she says, poking at the diminutive sleeping Eversor - currently draped over her legs - with a gloved hand. ...Hah. Sleeping like a log. Well, it wasn't too far off. "Can't feel my legs. ...What're you doing here, anyway?" Ought to have been on the top bunk, not that she couldn't hazard a guess or two.

Kaede Morimoto, the 'druid of the Third'. Well, sort of. Mostly, they were taking bets on how long it would take for her to catch onto the joke and realise they didn't even use code names. ...Probably a while. Seemed to be pretty attached to her, for whatever reason; enough for Harumi to suggest they share their dorm. In other words, babysitting duty for the foreseeable future. Not that the company was all bad; if anyone was getting the short end of the stick here - as she had said a few times before - it was Kaede.

She was... what, eleven or something? Hard to remember. Enough to make her feel old, anyway, and not exactly the right age to be stuck in the perpetual company of a cursed misery magnet. Still, she seemed happy enough.

"Huh? Cordy?" First time someone called her that, they ended up thrown down the corridor. ...Into the hospital wing, admittedly. Let it never be said that she was inconsiderate. Later down the line, here she was, just handing the name to Kaede when they first met. Seemed easier to remember. No one called her much else these days anyway.

Of all the nicknames out there, it had to be some kind of freakish parasite mushroom. Figures. Would be better if it at least had the decency not to fit so well.

"Rise and shine, now. ...Quickly, if you can. Any longer and I'm pretty sure I'll just have to lose everything down from the knee."

"But I'm not THAT-"

"I'm a delicate little flower before I have my coffee, okay? What dragged you down here?"

"...I had a nightmare." Of course. Couldn't fault her for having more than her fair share of those. And then the expectant stare.

"What're you waiting for?"

"You're supposed to say something like 'we're all living one', all dark and mysterious and-"

...Well, she wasn't entirely off the mark, but this wasn't the time or place to complain about strange dreams. Had to get a tolerance for it eventually, anyway, with all that she walked into while she was awake. Keep it in her little notebook, sooner or later, if it was anything particularly spectacular.

Like that time her dog caught fire. Honestly, witch's death-curse or not, there was no need to get anyone else caught up in the constant misery parade, that was just rude. Taught her a valuable lesson about pets, at least: Namely, don't.

"Listen, having magical powers and wearing a mask all day - on a helmet or not - doesn't make me... well, I guess it does, but I can't be bothered with acting the part this early in the day. Nightmares don't happen on bright sunny days, alright? They've got a better sense of timing than that."

She clambers out of the bed, finally, sighing to herself. Wasn't that annoyed, not really, but Kaede always seemed to love the distorted effect on her voice. Megumi smiles for a moment under the visor, remembering the previous year. Went whole hog that time, bringing a cape, glowy sword and everything. Got a purple one by accident, but no one seemed to know the difference. Of course, it did mean Kaede hanging onto her cape all evening. Soured her on the whole curtain-wearing thing, eventually. Just too much of a hassle going anywhere with one of those.

"Hey. Breakfast?"

The Eversor's face lightens up immediately. "What are you making?"

"Lukewarm leftovers à la lousy chef. Figured I'd make a real serious effort this time."

Well, so much for sarcasm. She seems to be excited anyway. Hard to tell if that had much to do with anything; sometimes she almost seemed stuck that way. Well, past the first few days after she arrived, at least. ...Probably took her standards down a peg or fifty; anything would seem good after that. By Megumi, meanwhile, every conceivable small object was flying around the room like some sort of chaotic halo. Then again, that was normal enough; either there was a good cause most of the time - even if it was sheer laziness - or she used her telekinesis to convince some of the newer members of the Third that some part of the officio or the other was haunted.

It was a natural fear already, at that sort of age, even without all this. After magic, aliens and inhuman monsters, really, was it so strange to believe in a poltergeist or two?

...Really did look like a tree or something, sitting there. Well, tiny, but a tree all the same. ...Small and kind of sickly-looking. Still, though. Covered in brown and green veins, with strangely flaky, bark-like skin in places. The black eyes and oddly wispy, sparse blonde hair didn't quite fit in, but the long - really, it was too big for her - dress in the same green and brown certainly did. ...Got a splash of orange in autumn, too. Attention to detail, maybe, or just some sort of strange magic. No shortage of that.

Still had that little cut on her arm from the accident the day before. Once in a while, it would leak some sap. Or a millipede.

There was always something to get used to, with Kaede. But then, she wasn't all that different. Walking disaster area, really, and that was putting it charitably. Liable to die at just about any moment, too, with how she tended to sleepwalk into barriers. ...Wasn't strange to think about that day in and day out. Definitely not. It's only brooding if you sulk over it; point and laugh, that's the trick.

"You were going to that garden of yours with Izuho after lunch, weren't you?" Megumi asks, very slightly proud of her memory. Izuho was good company, or at least, definitely better. Didn't bring down every unlikely calamity you could think of, for one. Didn't smash people into walls over petty name-calling. Practically a saint by comparison, really. ...Probably a toss-up between 'nausea-radiating biker suit' and 'hulking misshapen behemoth', though.

"Might want to stay out until evening. Well, unless you're fine with hanging out in an empty room for a while."

"You're going?"

A small nod. "Yeah, just need to head out and find somewhere out of the way. Trying something."

"What is it?"

"Curse science!" She flashes a cheesy, insincere grin at Kaede over her shoulder, before realising that the helmet would obscure this. She could always take it off, but... well, there was something to be said for not blasting your roommate with soul-withering antimagic minutes before lunch. It's the little things that count, in the end.


"Far as I can tell, this curse has enough juice in it to hit me... oh, a couple times a day. Mostly small stuff. I've got some theories on when it hits. Sort of. Picks a time, or saves some for later.. Or I'm barking up the wrong tree to begin with. Anyway. Plan to be out of the way. For the fallout. See what it can do. Taking my notebook, write what it throws at me.."

"Is it... really that bad?" The real question was obvious, of course. 'Do you really need to hide?' Well, no, but staying out of the way was just common courtesy when challenging a curse to work its magic on you.

"Never did tell you what happened a couple months back. Knocked over a vase. Last thing I had from my grandmother, bless her. Fell and shattered."


"Splinter got my dog in the eye. Few shards tore up my suit. Sewed it up and spent the weekend with the Venenum."

"...Cordy?" Oh, of course. They all had to take it so, so seriously, sometimes only more so when she joked about it. Well, that was support for you. No one ever thinks you might be a little tired of the permanent frown. Honestly, it was so ridiculous and unlikely that there wasn't much else anyone could do, or so she assumed, but here Kaede was, looking concerned all the same.

...Well, alright, so she cried over the dog. So she was angry when the suit got ruined. That wasn't the point.

"You're not laughing. ...Ah, never mind. Point is, best to keep away for this sort of thing. Best case, inconvenient. Worst case, might die if you stay around me."


"Mm. You'll get better, though. Stick around if you like, it's a riot."

They would meet again later that day - after Kaede had tended to her potted plants, and Megumi had found a secluded spot to stand in while she called out the name of the dead witch - in the hospital wing. The 'druid' peering down worriedly at the fallen Culexus, not quite able to leave the bed and - much to the discomfort of the remainder of the room's occupants - insisting on keeping her helmet off.

She was laughing then, too. She always seemed to save that for the worst of her misfortunes.