459/What is a Puella Magi

From Radiant Heart MUSH

What is a Puella Magi
Date of Scene: 19 September 2023
Location: Dorms #1
Synopsis: Chrono asks about the nature and origins of Amy's external linker core. He... got more than he bargained for.
Cast of Characters: Chrono Harlaown, Amanda Faust, Hannah Steiner

Chrono Harlaown has posed:
Chrono Harlaown had braced himself. As best he could. How bad could it be? He just needed to talk with her about her linker core being... outside... her body... Which, well. It wasn't a fatal experience. So who knew? Maybe it was just another thing on this world. You got girls piloting pluto maybe, linker core cannons, weird guys making belkan/midchildan/dark energy devices, Hannah, demon butterflies, singing flying idols. Why not?

So here he was, outside her room, lightly knocking on her door. He'd sent her a text to let her know he'd be arriving soon to... discuss things... if she had the time. How bad could it be?

Amanda Faust has posed:
Some minutes ago...
    Amy has some time alone to herself, with her roommate Mio out at some club activity Amy's not a part of, or something. Her eyes reflect the brightness of the computer screen. Right-left-downright-left click, right-left-downright-left click. Her expression is dispassionate, bored. Why... why doesn't this story feel the same kind of... interesting as it used to? Is it because of *that*? She looks over at the wall calendar, a date a few days ago having a little red dot marked in the corner of its square. Man. She was excited to read everything that's come out in the past month or so, but now checking all of it for gems almost seems like a chore.

    She almost jumps out of her chair as the phone beeps out the short tune that indicates that Zordon has a message for the Power Rangers. She picks it up and glances at the notification. It's the TSAB kid. *Now*? She looks at the computer. Eh, sure, why not. She taps out a reply that she's here and will see him soon.

    "Who is it?" Once he answers, she replies, "You can come in."

    It's... a girl's dorm room! There are stuffed animals on the beds. One desk has some pink on it, and a nice mirror presumably for checking one's makeup and hair in. The other... There are two 22.5-inch monitors and a black computer tower, the vents in the case letting out glowing red light from inside. The matching black keyboard glows a rainbow from under its keys. 5.1 surround speakers are positioned around, with the rear ones perched awkwardly on the windowsil and taped to one of the beds. The shelf over the desk is a collection of tabletop RPG books from the last several years. In front of the desk is an office chair, with one of those little plastic mats under it so the wheels and carpet won't have to struggle with eachother for dominance.

    And in the chair is a petite redhead Chrono's age wearing a black shirt with an iris-shutter logo and the words APERTURE LABORATORIES in white, faded from years of wear. She turns towards him, arms crossed, stocking-feet (in plain white schoolgirl socks) together, one foot tapping against the other idly.

    "Hey. So, what did you wanna talk about? Oh right, close the door behind you, since it's magic stuff..." she gestures at it with her hand. "You can uh... sit on my bed, I guess." She gestures at the lower bunk. "Man, they really oughtta give us, like, an extra chair for visitors, huh? But dorm rooms are already so tiny and cramped..."

Chrono Harlaown has posed:
Chrono Harlaown entered the room and, did, in fact, close it behind himself. "I'll stand," he said. "Thank you." He had... been in a girl's dorm room before, actually. But it was only for matters like this, discussions, business. Once or twice in a friendlier manner, as well. He had gal friends. But he was always wary of being too comfortable. Because most of the women in his life were evil and would tease him relentlessly for the slightest thing. He didn't recognize much... or really anything in the room and-- damn it.

His eyes fell on her and red flooded his cheeks and he quickly turned around. "I... err... wished to discuss with you your linker core. Namely, the fact it seems to be... outside of your body," he said. Yeah, not looking at her. Nope. "Uhhhh... could you... get... decent?" he asked, his face steaming a little bit. Nope. This was pretty much the experience he was used to. Damn it. At least nobody was here to know and tease him.

Amanda Faust has posed:
    She cocks her head to one side slightly as his face reddens like that. What? Well, easy enough to imagine how things look from his perspective, one of the stories she just read involved a 'woke up as a girl this morning and called my best friend over for help' beginning. And the guy came over and to him it looked like--

    Her face reddens just before he starts stammering out his request, just as embarassed for her part. Especially since she should have seen this coming! Gods, she really wasn't thinking... Amy lifts the hem of the shirt up, "There's shorts on under, see???" There are indeed black athletic shorts on underneath. "Oh my gosh... I'm sorry! I wasn't thinking... gah! My mind was on other things, you know?"

Chrono Harlaown has posed:
Chrono Harlaown jsut kept his back to her and sighed. "Yeah... I'm... sure you are," he said before sighing. Oh, she likely was. But he could all but see it in his mind. The lifting of the shirt. Yup. He'd been hit by that many times. He was NOT going to fall for that again. "It's... it's fine. I'm used to it." Just gonna suppress and let it go. "And I understand. I suppose I should start from the beginning. How much do you know about magic and linker cores?" he asked. "I know you had some questions before I was unable to properly answer at the time. Now is the ideal time for such an exchange of information."

Yup. Onto business. Just. Jump onto it.

Amanda Faust has posed:
    "[Oh my god.]" She says, mildly exasperated. "Alright, alright. Stay turned around for a moment." The kid's clearly a strait-laced perfect gentleman, he won't peek as she switches out the shorts for sweatpants. "[Hey, do you speak English? Is that better than Japanese?]"

    "Okay, you can turn back around now. Sorry... When I was a couple years younger than you I had a sleepover at a girl's house and she was wearing a big sweatshirt and yeah, I was wondering the same thing."

    She sits back in her chair. "You said a linker core was some kind of magical organ, but that the civilian girl didn't have one. And you say mine is outside my body. Is yours *not*? Where *is* the magic organ in the body, and why do some people have it and others don't?"

Chrono Harlaown has posed:
Chrono Harlaown sighed and slowly turned around. Before responding in midchildian... which was english. "I can, if necessary. But it's rarely done. Do you prefer to speak like this?

Gotta love magically universal languages.

However, he just looked more confused. "... If I was a girl I don't think it would be quite as improper. But honestly, I'm sure there were plenty of men who'd try to find a way to fluster me the same way, so I suppose that may be the truth for women as well." It likely wouldn't be as awkward if so many of the girls on this planet weren't so cute... the guys too, if he was honest and he quickly tried to bolt THAT thought away. Focus on the mission. On. The. mission.

"Everyone has a linker core," Chrono corrected. "Or, should. But not everyone's is active. It's an organ that allows one to draw and store magic from the environment inside themselves. If inactive, one cannot store magic. After a certain age range on this planet, people's linker cores appear to become... blocked, in some way. Usually. If one's linker core is inactive on this planet, they appear to be unable to even remember magic at all, let alone use it."

"As for it being external... no. It would be akin to one's other vital organs being outside their body. Or, at least, I assumed so. While people can ahve theirs removed and survive, it is a painful experience. Most lose consciousness quickly. Your appears to be outside your body entirely, permanently. But perhaps that is just the nature of your magic. I will be honest... the magic of this world has been strange and confusing, going against many of the rules of magic in the universe. So at this point, I can take little for granted. Would you mind telling me more of the nature of your magic?"

Amanda Faust has posed:
    Does she prefer English? "Yeah, I'm American, after all." The rest of the dialogue in this scene is presumably in Mid-Childan/English unless noted otherwise.

    "It's not... I wasn't trying to fluster you! I just really like this shirt... and I'm relaxing, so I'm gonna wear athletic shorts, but girls' shorts are so short... I actually asked about this the other day, and they explained that part of the point of having a really long jacket or shirt with shorts is to protect the upper legs when sitting on rough or uncomfortable surfaces..." she mutters an aside, "apparently a necessity with how short some skirts are..." then continues, "it's not, they're not trying to invoke the 'boyfriend shirt' look..." She slumps. "At least, some aren't..."

    But, there's magic to talk about! She leans forward and listens in wide-eyed interest.

    "Well, that makes sense. I guess you'd call it an artificial linker core, since mine wasn't active... or actually, I guess it woulda been blocked? So maybe it made it harder for you to detect my real one? Obviously, I couldn't use magic, and I wasn't lucky enough to get chosen by a god or be born the princess of a secret realm or anything."

    She takes a breath, and reaches down her shirt, and pulls out her pendant. In a little burst of magic, it reshapes into its natural form.

                       {|||||||||||||||||||||||||||||   }                      

    The bright red, like the LEDs in her computer's case, is tinged by darkness. "Can you scan me again, now that you know? Or does this like, make it impossible to detect my real, dormant linker core?"

Chrono Harlaown has posed:
Chrono Harlaown just smiled at her. "I'm from another world, I have not yet memorized all of the countries and their languages of choice," he said. Just... well. Yes. "And that's fine. My apologies, I did not mean to make you uncomfortable. I just... ahem. Prefer to focus on my work," he said sheepishly, nervously scratching his cheek.

"And no, that appears to be your linker core. If I was to guess... I would say whatever method granted you your magic extracted your linker core and then contained it in this gem. There's no dormant linker core within you. And the 'block' doesn't appear to happen until after one reaches their 20s. I'm unsure of when, exactly, it starts. Your linker core wouldn't have been block, merely inactive."

Then pause. Blink. "Wait, did you say chosen by a *god?*" he asked. "Is that a thing here?" He, at least, did henshin and proceed to scan her and... "No, that appears to be your linker core. I'm... unsure on the effects of having it outside your body, though. I'd like to examine it closer, but I am unsure what the effects of having it further from you would be. On top of that, I'm not an expert on such things so any examinations I did would be unlikely to gleam much. I'd... suggest... keeping it clean at least? It is a vital organ... kind of?"

Well, this was... an experience.

Amanda Faust has posed:
> If I was to guess... I would say whatever method granted you your magic extracted your linker core and then contained it in this gem.
Two months ago~~

    Sailor V is going to fall at any moment, without backup. He has to make a wish, now!

    "I wish... I wish I could be cute!"

    A second passes. And then Mallory clutches at his chest as it feels like something is ripping out of him. His heart...? "W-what?" he tries to ask, gritting his teeth through the pain.

    <<The contract has been made. Your wish has prevailed against entropy. So, go now... unleash your new power!>> :3

    Something glowing red rises out of Mallory's chest and floats into the air while Kyubey says this, then surrounds him in red-limned whitish energy...!

    ...Amy looks thoughtful, sitting up with head bowed forward slightly, her brow furrowed as she holds a finger to her chin. "After I made the wish, it felt like something was... being ripped out of me. It actually hurt a lot, but it was over quickly. Then this light, the same color as the gem, flew out of my chest, and then the light was all around me... and then there's a gap in my consciousness that can't have been more than seconds."

    She looks up at Chrono, eyes piercingly thoughtful as she checks the findings of her memory with an expert. "Does that match what you'd expect if my sealed linker core was extracted?"

Chrono Harlaown has posed:
Chrono Harlaown just stared at her. "Uhhhhhh... yes? What wish, though? You made a wish? You wished for your linker core to be ripped out like this?" he asked, staring at her in bewilderment. "To a god? Who was this god?" And there were SO MANY MORE QUESTIONS TO ASK!

"But yes, I imagine having one's linker core removed would be painful. There is... one... case I am familiar with, where it has been done. But it's not a fatal condition and, in younger people, it often recovers quickly. In your case, it seemsd that you have had yours... fixed, I suppose, so it can harness power. Think of it as a... medical apparatus."

Amanda Faust has posed:
    Amy leans back in her chair, looking at the gem now held between her thumb and index finger. "Hmm. Makes sense. Like an artificial heart." She smiles at a thought. "I'm a magic cyborg??? That's kinda cool, when I think of it that way..." She sets the soul gem down on her desk.

    "No, Kyubey's not a god, I think. I've met the god that empowers the Cures, but we only talked briefly; I didn't ask him about his selection process."

    "Kyubey is... I don't know what he is. A small talking animal gathering warriors to fight Witches, I suppose. Since we aren't getting magic from gods, or wherever you get it -- where *do* you get it, by the way? -- he has this process, this... 'Form a contract with me and become a magical girl.' Make a wish, it'll be granted, and you get an artificial linker core, I guess." She waves her hand at it. "I don't think it's a literal contract though. It's just how the magic works... once you've got an artificial linker core, a 'Soul Gem' it's called, the only way to refill it after using magic is to kill a Witch and use the grief seed it drops. Once the grief seed is empty, Kyubey collects them..." she makes a bit of a face at remembering that visual. "...like his body is a hazardous waste bin for them..."

    She looks at Chrono, resting her chin against the fingers of her hands folded together with her elbows on the armrests. "Apparently, if we ever run completely out of magic, we'll die... But isn't death the expected prognosis for being on the battlefield with no magic, anyway?"

Chrono Harlaown has posed:
Chrono Harlaown gave a small nod. "Indeed. A magic cyborg isn't a bad description. I've... admittedly never seen such a thing, but it's not entirely impossible. In theory. It may exist back home and is just not something I have experience with."


"A small creature? Like a familiar? Perhaps I can speak with him then, as well. Where I come from we gather magic from the environment. This world appears to be filled with it. However, there are also two other forms of magic in this world, one I've heard called dark energy and one light energy. I'm... not sure where they come from. It... wait... a soul gem? Grief seed? That's... ominous," Chrono said. "So... these witches are... like the... youma, then? And you fight them and when they die they give you these grief seeds that... I guess... are supposed to be fed your grief? Then your Kyubey gathers them? Do you have one?" he asked.

The comment on 'running out of magic' made his eyes narrow. "That... shouldn't... be fatal... perhaps a part of the artificial structure of the device? Hardly a fair cost. But no, I mean... perhaps. This world is.... a strange place. One shouldn't be on the battlefield at all without magic. It is why we use dimension barriers, shunting non-magical people away. And how does a wish play into this? Those who wish to join the battle, as it were?"

Amanda Faust has posed:
    Amy listens. Hecc yeah, she's a magic cyborg! So cool!

    "Exactly. The lowest it's gotten is a little under a quarter, after two weeks of lots of fights and no Witch. So if I ever get low like that again... then I'll stay off the battlefield until someone can bring me a grief seed."

    "'Hardly a fair trade'?" A hint of anger creeps into her voice. "I couldn't use magic *at all* before. I couldn't *remember* magic before. I don't see your Magic Starfleet down here fixing our linker cores; if anything I understand there's some kind of Prime Directive that means you can't just share technology with us and make our lives better? So you're not in a position to complain."

    She takes a breath. "Yeah, maybe you can find Kyubey. You'll probably run into him eventually if you hang around Puella Magi going on Witch hunts enough. I don't have a grief seed at the moment," She shakes her head, and waves her hand towards her soul gem. "I can go awhile before I need another one, maybe..." She squints at it. "...four or five? hard fights before I get uncomfortably low. But obviously I hope to get one before then."

    Another breath.

    "They're not like youma." She's leaning forward with fingers intertwined again. "I mean, I guess, in the vaguest sense of being a supernatural monster that hurts people, yeah, but... they're different. You'll understand when you see one, and you *will* because there's no way a magical cop can stand by when you're near one, right?"

    "MY theory? They're beings from outside reality. Primordials, unshaped Fey, whatever you want to call the idea. They *can't* manifest here, but they need to feed on mortals, for some reason. So they come *close*, and they mark mortals, and those mortals become suicidal; their deaths feed the Witch somehow. And where the Witch is near Reality? The, uh, epicenter? Is an entrance to their Labyrinth, some kind of... unreal place where the laws of physics don't apply... or I guess they *do*, but in kind of a scattershot way? You can live, and your weapons and magic work, to protect yourself and your allies and to hurt the Witch and the creatures or obstacles that live-- err, that are extant in some form there. But I don't think Labyrinths run on physics. That's why they look weird, I bet we're not seeing them from light bouncing off them into our eyes, but some other way, whatever the hell that means."

    She leans back in her chair. "But then, it's not like I've had a chance to just stand around and do science experiments in the middle of a witch hunt, right? A Labyrinth isn't someplace you go *safely*. If my theory is right, it should be by its very nature inimical to our existence and life, right?"

Chrono Harlaown has posed:
Chrono Harlaown just stared at her, cocking his head to the side. "Prime... directive? Faust-san, this world is a black hole of magic. We literally cannot come here without likely dying in the process. The fact I am even alive is a miracle. Who told you that we could come here?" he asked in bewilderment. "And no, we likely couldn't share our technology. Linker cores barren of magic wouldn't function with much of our technology and I don't believe we can even... do that," he said, motioning to her soul gem.

Then he chuckled a little nervously and scritched his cheek again. "A-actually, magical... cop isn't exactly a proper term? We're more like... magical military. Dimensional special forces? It's... hard to explain without explaining the very nature of time and space, all of the different worlds and..." he just sighed. "... I'll see if I can get you some information on it from someone who can explain it better."

".... so possibly monsters from another world. That give you the energy you need to survive. Making you a kind of... witch predator. I see. I suppose that makes sense, when anomalies show up, they have to be stopped before they destroy a world. The lack of magic may... huh. I suppose that would make you a kind of... auto immune system. Designed to purge the monsters of this world. Fascinating," he mumbled, seemingly lost in thought.

"My apologies, I didn't mean to insult your desire to help others. I think... I understand now. People like you lacked the ability to harness magic with your linker core, so this Kyubey came and offered to let you join the battle, granting your wish to protect others, by removing your linker core and enhancing it. In return, you defeat these creatures, thereby using these seeds from other places to fuel your linker core, or soul gem, with power? Am I correct?"

Amanda Faust has posed:
Amy looks shocked to learn people from Magic Space can't come here. "What? But my girlfriend and her uncle are here... so that was an accident? They nearly died coming here??"

    The TSAB bureaucratically administers TS how, exactly? Amy looks plenty interested to learn, and just nods at the possibility of more information later.

    Amy posited the Jenna Moran RPG Supplement theory of Witches, and in return Chrono posits the 4E Psionics Lore theory of Puella Magi. Amy nods, thoughtfully. "We're some form of autoimmune system... makes sense, I guess..."

    So, Chrono understands about Kyubey and wishes now? Amy nods, "That sounds about right, yeah. And if Kyubey's some kind of... like, piece of a Gaean immune system, that'd explain why he's... kinda weird. And cavalierly recruiting magical girls. He may well not understand humans, or our cultural expectations; he's just a magical being made to make defenders against Witches. Yeah, that'd make sense..."

    Still, she looks a bit uneasy about something. A piece of information left out. She suddenly can't meet his gaze. "Look, um. Like, my *real* wish was to be able to *do* something about magical monsters attacking people... or even moreso, just to be involved in this, rather than living my boring, civilian life day after day. But uh. That's something that comes as part of the deal anyway. That's not the 'wish' that gets granted, that..."

    The contract has been made. Your wish has prevailed against entropy. So, go now... unleash your new power!

    "...'prevails against entropy', whatever that means. That can be... anything. I guess. But it's kinda personal to ask what people wished for, you know? And honestly, with me it was a small thing... I was at a magical battle. Sailor V was going to *lose* if I didn't join! And what I really wanted was to be able to do something about it. So... I probably could have done something smarter with it, but there wasn't time. And because I *did* make a contract, I've been able to help so many people, and... and maybe... look, my life is better in unexpected ways now. So... what I wished for doesn't matter. Because the end result has mattered far more and made a much bigger impact, you know?" She blushes. She wished to be cute. So embarassing!

Chrono Harlaown has posed:
Chrono Harlaown gave a small nod. "Indeed. Coming here... has always been a one way trip. As far as I know, there's no way off this planet once one arrives. Or, well, out of this sector. Chances are leaving it is... while possible, will be incredibly difficult. What comes in can rarely leave. I do intend to find a way to get others back home, but... it is not easy. If your girlfriend came here... she likely expects to never leave. We arrived on accident."

The more she talked, the more he confirmed things about their system. Sure, it was WRONG, but he didn't know that. The more she talked about her wish...

He gave a small smile before reaching up and lightly patting her head. "I understand, don't fret, Faust-san. There is no harm in wishing to protect others. I... understand you were born without the capability to wield magic yourself and... the feelings of... helplessness of watching others sacrifice themselves to keep you and others safe. As for prevailing against... Entropy... I couldn't say. Perhaps it correlates with the magic of this world."

And then he shook his head. "And if having magic has made your life better, I certainly won't fault you for wishing to have it. Wishing to protect and keep others safe is a noble wish, even if I personally wish the... flaws of your system weren't as dangerous. Depending on these witches to appear in order to survive is... not something I would wish on anyone. But please, do not get embarrassed over such a desire to aid others."

Amanda Faust has posed:
    So Hannah's stuck here? That's... something to talk about with her, Amy guesses.

    She just looks surprised and confused at this headpat. Chrono doesn't have quite the right... energy for it, but she's not going to object.

    He also doesn't have quite the right idea of her wish, but she supposes it makes no difference; for purposes of this conversation, if she had said, 'I wish to be a magical girl!', it would make no difference.

    "...It's not that. I'm fine with the danger, and if I get hit by a bus-Witch tomorrow, so to speak, I'm just glad I had this chance, however brief. But... I worry about others. But I guess it is what it is, huh?"

    Those red eyes look up at him (only possible since she's sitting.) "It's like with you. We can complain about the system that allowed you into danger, or how this system is putting teenage girls into battle, but the more important thing is, *it happened*, what can we do for them? ...And I guess what I can do is try to be a good friend, and help."

    She leans back, slumping in the chair a bit. "Gods, these past two months have been weird. Like, there's all this magic stuff *and* I have to juggle that with school *and* deal with stuff like that other guys will get all flustered based on how I dress??? I don't even know if it's 'other' guys anymore! A-am I really a girl? Am I really a guy? It is clearly the ideal situation in which to figure that out, while going to school and fighting monsters and people being weird about clothes!" Amy throws up her hands.

    She glances at him. "Sorry. I got used to hanging around girls, what with the dorm and the weird gender bias in magical defenders of Earth -- is that a thing on other worlds, by the way? -- but I've been so busy with magic I haven't had the chance to hang out with *boys* and this was a reminder that they're gonna be weird about it now. That you don't see me as just another person like you, but some..."

    she looks at his eyes. "What'd you say before, that I was trying to find a way to fluster you? Why would I even do that? Like I have some mysterious goal I don't even understand to fluster you, so you don't see *me*, behind these eyes."

Chrono Harlaown has posed:
Chrono Harlaown could agree to that. "It's... difficult. Deciding to take this road. That you will join in the battle, as it were. Not... easy. But definitely understandable. Frightening, even, at times. But... I couldn't stand at the wayside either. Were it to be me... I'd have likely made a similar choice. I..." He was silent for a moment, trying to properly phrase this. "I learned long ago, trying to undo the past or curse the reality of a situation does nothing to fix it. You can spend your life opposing it and achieving nothing. Or you can accept the reality of your situation and strive to make the future one that is all the better for it. So I may not like what is going on in this world, but I will do all I can to aid those in it survive their encounters."

He did, however, stare at her for a long while after that. "Wait... other... guy... oh. Ohhhhh. Wait. Did... were you a... are you male?" he finally asked, his cheeks going red. "Err. Were you male? Did the... magic turn you... oh no. Oh. My... my condolences. Err. No. Outside of this world, I do not believe magic... differentiates between male or, uhhhh, female," he said, his cheeks getting redder as he talked. "That... err... is an... unfortunate penalty of this magic, I guess. A-and no, I didn't mean that. I just... knew a lot of women when I was in the academy who took great... pains... to fluster me at every opportunity. I..." He coughed. "Errrr... perhaps there is a way... to... undo the magic, so you could be a boy again?" he offered.

... He was treating her as being a girl as something, well... a *cost* of the magic. Not a benefit.

Amanda Faust has posed:
    Chrono's words somehow make her feel increasingly awkward. "Why are *you* gettin' all embarassed? *I'm* the one who got transformed... If you'd met me three months ago there'd be no call for all this blushing and stuttering!" She frowns a bit. "I see. Not your fault, then. I'm sorry you had to deal with bullies. I dunno what space culture is like, but..."

    She looks over this boy. This teenage boy has been bullied by girls for years? ...That explains things, actually. "...I get how that's made you all... like this," she makes a vague circular gesture at him. "Must be super awkward for you to talk to me after all that. I hope your experiences with Earth girls go better."

    He mentions undoing the magic and she *stiffens*, her fingers briefly gripping the armrests.

    She looks away. "...I don't want that. I keep forgetting... I just was so used to thinking I was a guy for so long, but no guy... would *want* to stay like this, huh? I assumed I'd *have* to go back, if given the opportunity, but... it took almost all this time, for me to realize I don't *want* to. I guess that makes it easy. I 'had the heart of a girl' all along... but I'm still not used to thinking of myself that way. Thanks, I guess, for reminding me of that."


    She looks at him curiously. "You've wondered what it'd be like, though, right? I always figured most other folks just weren't open-minded and scientifically curious, and that any who *were* would think about it, and you're clearly pretty bright..."

Chrono Harlaown has posed:
Chrono Harlaown stared at her for a moment before shaking his head. "I... don't think it's really bullying? They just... I think they meant well. Mostly. But... I think they also indulged themselves too much. Far too often. Far, far, *far* too often," Chrono said with just a little hint of annoyance there.

"It's not awkward to talk to you once you're uhhh, properly dressed," he said with a light cough. "I much more prefer to keep things professional, is all. I..."

He trailed off though, staring at her. Then, finally, he shook his head. "Not really. Transformation magic never really interested me and while I can understand the basics, it was never for me. Being a girl seems fairly inconvenient, honestly, I'm far more familiar with my current form and body, and the repositioning of body mass would likely slow me down until I properly acclimated to it. Even then, I don't believe it would give any benefits. I'd... find it about as appealing as any other transformation, I suppose. Turning into a dog, a cat, a bird... but even in that regards, my curiousity is only minor."

Pause. Pause. Pause.

"... But there's nothing wrong with you wanting to be a girl. Just... I'd never want to make such a change, especially not for long. It sounds kind of horrific, to be honest. I'm grateful it's something you enjoy."

Amanda Faust has posed:
    Amy's voice is cold about that. "They 'meant well'? Sounds like you're making excuses for them... But, I won't press further."

    She lifts up the hem of the shirt again. "*I was wearing shorts!* Dude!"

> Transformation magic never interested me
    ._. Ah, that's right. The rest of the world is normies... ...Wait, turning into a dog or a cat? "Is there magic that *does* that, where you come from???"

    As for the matter of gender... She lifts up her hand and looks at it, as if checking nonexistant nail polish. "It's fine. I guess it's 'cuz I'm a girl and you're a boy."

    She puts her hand back on the armrest and looks at him. "But, we're also *people*, stuck in this crazy magical mess, and I'm happy to be your friend if you want. We can play videogames sometime! I'll dress like a guy, if it helps. Or, maybe we'll just meet on the battlefield again. I'm glad we had this talk, I guess I've got some questions for Kyubey next time I see him. Seeya around?" She'll hold out a hand to shake.

    "...Wait, one last thought: You said you went to an Academy. Does that mean you already learned high school math and science and you're having to redo it now? ...Oh my god our science must seem so backward and boring..."

Chrono Harlaown has posed:
Chrono Harlaown visibly cringed when she flashed her shorts at him. His cheeks going red, he quickly glanced away. "It... I ummm... c-can see that. I just... errr... have never been good with... cute... girls...doing that... is all," Chrono said, his cheeks burning when he looked away from her.

"Y-yes, transforming into all kinds of things is, theoretically, possible. It's not easy and takes a lot of time to learn the magic, however. but there are some combat applications. I'm sure a gender swapping spell would be achievable. But... yes. You're a girl, from what I can see? Though I doubt I'm the best judge of that." He doubted he'd ever understand that.

"As for friends, well, that sounds pleasant, Faust-san," he said with that gentle smile of his, offering his hand to shake her own. "If you ever require my aid, please, do not hesitate to ask it. While the TSAB may not be here in full, I still take my duties to protect those of all dimensions seriously."

Her comment on the academy made him pause and give a sigh, before nodding. "Indeed. Math on this world is actually incredibly simple compared to midchildian math, as it makes up how most of our magic works. The science is... slightly more interesting. For the most part I just use my device and perform research during the classes I attend, unless there is something of interest. But I was... well..."

"Back in the academy, most of my classmates were in their late teens to early thirties. I must admit it feels strange to be amongst those who are my age or even younger.Oh, do not take that as a negative. I have met many here who are quite exceptional despite your youth. It's just... not very common outside of this system." He then gave her a small, polite bow. "It was nice to meet you though, Faust-san, please be safe." He then turned to leave and paused. Wait. Did she say her girl friend... "... Wait..."

"... Your girl friend... isn't... Hannah of House Steiner, is she?" Oh damn it...

Amanda Faust has posed:
(This entire conversation is in Mid-Childan/English)

    They're not even shorts anymore! She's wearing sweatpants now! But before she can protest further he calls her *cute* and w-what?! Now it's her turn to be flustered.

    She does grip his hand firmly and shake, though.

    She feels a little insulted at hearing that Earth Math is 'simple' though. "Hey! I know multivariate calculus, you know!"

    At the greeting, she stands from her chair, starts to bow and then immediately corrects to a curtsey. "Nice to meet you too, Chrono."

    At the question she blinks her head and cocks it to one side innocently. "Yeah, why?"

Chrono Harlaown has posed:
Chrono Harlaown sighed and then... he didn't even try to explain it. He just held out his palm and showed her some of the complex equations that went into magic. Gravity, distance, all of that... "Simple may have been the wrong word, admittedly. But... less... moving pieces. Namely due to the natures of our world being different."

He really needed to find a pretty cure now. And their 'god'. Oh my gosh he felt so oddly tired now. He still kept up his facade of being unphased and calm, at least. But... but then... she said she was Hannah's girlfriend and his eye twitched. "I... see."

"... She has taken something of value of the TSAB's. Requiring me to honor duel her for it. I was... merely curious as your relationship with her. I... certainly... wish you two the best."

Ah. This was only... something that filled him with moderate existential dread. All things considered, it wasn't so bad. Just... honor duel this girl's girlfriend, get that book back... move on. And then he turned to leave/escape. Just in case Hannah...

... CRAP.

Hannah Steiner has posed:
Sometimes Hannah's enthusiasm gets the better of her, and she just...doesn't think things through. Now, after all that's been going on with her recently, the idea of a nice dinner just hanging out with her dear beloved Amy appeals severely. And so, she's ordered some of the best ramen she can afford, and some flowers, and has b-lined it to Amy's dorm. She wants it to be a surprise. Because she's Hannah, the idea there might be guests or she might be out or any other number of flaws in this plan is papered over by the idea that she's a Steiner, and that reality shall bend to her mailed blue fist.

Now, she doesn't quite kick down the door, mostly because Inai sensei already gave her a lecture about 'going too far' and she doesn't want to wind up in debt. Instead Lyra happily turns the knob, and /she/ boots the thing in with her big ol' snoz!


"Acht???!!!" Surprise! Wow she knows that voice. Doesn't she? Her forehead throbs slightly. Oh, right!

"Ser Harlaown! We meet again mein ally und freund of the battlefield! I did not know you were friends with the faustian engel of the Cradle-esque voice!" She...oh gods, it's like she /likes/ the young man despite their little dispute over a desk! And is pleased to see him!

Amanda Faust has posed:
    "*Fewer* moving pieces." Amy corrects his Mid-Childan. "And what do you mean nature? All you did is flash some runes at me, that doesn't show anything when you do it like that!" She has a *bachelor's degree from College*, dammit!

    Hanah stole something? "Like what?"

    Before Chrono can answer, Hannah.

    Just... Hannah.

    "Hannah!" Amy smiles, glances between the two of them, and runs to her girlfriend to wrap her arms around her. She can worry about untangling this mess *after* feeling those arms around her again.

Chrono Harlaown has posed:
Chrono Harlaown took a slow, deep breath. And then he muttered those words that Hannah had heard before. The profanity HE knew. He glanced back to her slowly. "Yes. Faust-san and I met... recently," he said. Eye twitching slightly. Just a little. "I had not been aware that she was your girlfriend. Congratulations on the... forming... of your relationship." Eye twitch. Eeeeeeye twitch.

"She has been imparting to me the nature of the 'puella magi' and their unique external linker cores. I was, however, just leaving. I look forward to our... honor duel... which I am sure I will be able to schedule soon." Twitch. Twitch. Eye twitch. Oh, yes, there was a lot of twitching there. He was definitely in a mood.

Hannah Steiner has posed:
Is she /ignoring/ Chrono's obvious building irritation and fury, or is she actually oblivious to it? She's grinning. That face of hers /radiates/ cheerful Belkan warmth for Chrono who in so many ways is the absolute opposite of her.

"Wunderbar! No doubt you have discovered that mein engel is a thoughtful soul und whom can steal hearts with her voice! Terrible business, hm? But she is strong enough to survive. I shall ensure it!" Comes Hannah, nodding firmly! She quickly deposits the flowers and foodstuffs to Lyra. Good lizard doggo!

HUG!Squeeeeeze of affection! "Acht, /Amy/! It is so good to be in your arms, how I missed them so!" Gushes the young woman. This is a shockwave of naked affection and love! Clearly she does everything loudly. Poor, poor Chrono!

"Yes, I look forward to it, Ser Harlaown! We shall clash gloriously! Share our hearts in the time honored tradition of blade und - whatever cowardly Mid-Childan implement S2U turns into. Prepare yourself well, we augh push each other past our limits und make the whole of Tokyo tremble from our martial glory!!!!" She is /so/ excited to duel Chrono over a picture album. Belka was a mistake.

"The winner shall receive both the item at issue, und /ice cream/!" At least if she loses she's not going to be sore about it.

Amanda Faust has posed:
    "I don't want to steal anyone's heart!" Amy protests, and is hugged! Squeezy hugs are the best. Hannah is here. Everything will be alright, and she'll keep feeling wonderful, and somehow, Hannah feels wonderful around her, too.

    But as much as she wants to just relax in Hannah's arms for a minute, there's unfinished business going on around her.

    "Why do you have to duel over it, anyway? Aren't we working together against all the magical craziness going on? And um... be nice to him, okay? He was bullied by women at the Academy -- and don't you dare look down at him or make fun of him for that, being bullied sucks no matter from who and any bullshit about guys supposed to be stronger than that doesn't help anyone."

    Red eyes look up at her with the expression of one who's been a young boy on the receiving end of bullying. And then her expression softens. "I know you're not like that. But it seemed important to say, and, misunderstandings and misreadings of things can happen, so... watch for that, okay?"

Chrono Harlaown has posed:
Chrono Harlaown just twitched a bit more but... he sighed after a few moments, ending his henshin in that way only he could, filled with swagger. He was about to say something... but stopped himself. He glanced at the flowers and... No. No comment. He was going to comment on the fact that Hannah hadn't informed Amy of her being stuck here.

Instead... "Yes, indeed. Don't worry, I won't need a physical blade to strike you down," he said in that calm, dry tone of his. "It has been a while since I have had to duel a belkan. I'll endeavor to show you why," he said. "And the ice cream will taste ever sweeter then."

Yes, he could be just as cocky as her at times.

"I wouldn't fret, Faust-san. It is merely a belkan tradition. It is not a duel to the death. Though the... circumstances... by which the duel's prize was acquired was... less... than ideal..." And there, just one more eye twitch.

He kept his mouth shut on the 'bullying' thing. IT wasn't... truly... bullying. Was it? After all, most people would have... liked... it... surely? It seemed like it? Though those scars ran deep.

Hannah Steiner has posed:
There's a /giggle/ coming from Hannah now! "Mein precious, innocent, beautiful engel! Too late. As soon as I heard your voice, I /knew/! That I could not turn away from your siren's call of love, und I am happier for it. Do not deny your talents!" Oh yes, she's shameless!

Luckily, Chrono does save her a bit here. "Ser Harlaown is correct! To /not/ Duel him would, first of all, be utterly insulting. Yes, I trade barbs. But they are not meant to pierce! Und if I am not mistaken..." There's a smirk to Chrono!

"I do believe the honorable Enforcer enjoys the game! He is quite adept at it! Seriously, having seen Chrono upon the battlefield amidst....a horrible situation, his dedication to duty, honor, und skill have mein utmost respect. I shall /not/ dishonor his House by implying he is unworthy of mein blade." Comes Hannah /very/ seriously, going into that self-righteous tone she uses whenever something like honor comes up.

Reluctantly, hands go up. "I would not dream of it mein engel! I...acht. Hm." She actually chews on those words.

Chrono gets to win /this/ round of verbal dueling, because Amy's soemwhat chair-to-head'd him.

A tilt of the head. "Ser Harlaown, if I /have/ inadvertantly given any offense, I apologize. It is something of a game to trade barbs with honored fellow warriors on Tharkad. To wit, mein freund, I have been /teasing/ you in good humor. But some traditions may be...bent for the sake of calling you an ally und freund." Is she...apologetic? There's this tiny hint in all of her bluster and loudness. A little hint of concern.

"Acht, an enjoyer of post duel ice cream!? A true man of culture!" Proclaims Hannah.

Amanda Faust has posed:
    Too late? Siren's call? Talents? "...Uh, what...?" Amanda is confused.

>A bunch of dueling talk
    Amy smiles and turns to look back at Chrono. "Oh yeah, it was good to see him show such confidence about dueling you!"

    She addresses him directly, a bit of sadness in her eyes. "...I've been so absorbed in being new to all this magic stuff and how *my* life's been turned upside down that I kind of forget to think about what it must be like, for those of you stranded here from whatever other world. I can imagine what a relief it must be to have something familiar, a chance to be in your element again. Like me with computers," she smiles and gestures at the desk, "or old video games. So, I hope you have a fun duel! I'm glad you're both the type to challenge eachother to the utmost and not go easy! Maybe I'll come by to cheer you on, if I can make it."


    She blushes and looks down at the floor. "Now um... I'd like some time alone with my girlfriend, if that's okay..."

Chrono Harlaown has posed:
Chrono Harlaown couldn't help but find it... oddly... adorable, the two of them. But well... "Enjoy may be a strong word for it. But... I am familiar with it. She would hardly be the first Belkan to fight me. If she manages to win, however, she would be the first to manage that." Then his eyes narrowed. "Especially considering what she had placed *at stake*." Okay, so yes, there was a bit of a threat there. Alien or not, it was... fairly clear... She would *not* be holding back in the slightest.

"But no. You have not given any offense, Hannah of House Steiner. I know well the method by which your words are intended and so long as you keep to the terms of the duel and do not attempt any trickery related to it, I would be honored to add a lose to the record of your house," Chrono said that with that dry, certain tone of his. Was he that confident? Welllll... There was a LOT at stake.

"And please, do not worry for my sake, Faust-san. I chose this life, I knew well the risks and there were many times I could have turned back, but I chose not to. I do not regret my choices, even now."

Then, with a small bow, he quickly made his way out of the room before walking a bit down the hall... and then stopping... And then... Leaning against the wall.

The precures had a god. Likely another lost logia. Apparently. Peace. Was she ACTUALLY the embodiment of peace? If she died or got hurt did that mean PEACE ceased to exist here? How about sunny? WHAT OTHER PRECURES WERE THERE? Artificial linker cores. There was just so much and he...

He slowly sunk to the ground before, finally, he sent a text through his device.

        Text to Setsuna: Are you immortal?

        Text to Setsuna: Are you a god?

Hannah Steiner has posed:
There's mostly nodding to Amy, warmth in her gaze, at least until the words 'stranded here' come up. Suddenly Hannah is /scowling/! She almost looks angry. Alright, she kind of is, but Amy may know her well enough by now to know it's not at her. She's just forced that connection in her mind to something that makes her mad.

"BAH! I have a planet to rule! We are not STUCK or STRANDED or LOST! We...meinself, Ser Harlaown, und most importantly, all of his remaining associates..." She emphasizes that last word! Clearly directed at Chrono, and a very /specific/ associate.

"Shall leave this quaint amusing little galactic backwater! A way shall be found, in the Sankt Kaiser's name!" The denial can all but be physically felt, as is her sheer religious zeal. It's like she's trying to Duel reality with pure force of will alone.

Your girlfriend has /issues/ Amy.

"Bring popcorn und a good drink mein engel!" She /really/ can swap moods in a moment, can't she?

Hannah lets out a sigh of relief. She can't hide it. She was actually nervous for a second. She offers a formal bow in the style of her House, however, just as an added courtesy.

"May you walk in the Sankt Kaiser's grace, Ser Harlaown. I look forward to driving you personally into the dirt, und shattering that record as so much brittle glass. The kind produced by an Unadministered World!" Ouch! She's putting on the fire, but grinning and even winking to Chrono. A small pause just before he leaves.

"Try to have /fun/ some time, hm? I know your type, Chrono. Likely to run yourself ragged. You deserve to live, even with the burdens of Duty. Guten aben, hm?" A tilt of the head, and a smile.