There was a big problem with actually trying to investigate a disappearance. … Namely, Mariette was no investigator. She could watch things from afar, but when it came to being a detective? That needed talking, and when the general public knew you’re a horror patron girl there’s only so much you can talk about. Wasn’t that many one could talk about with the disappearance of this one girl, and those who should have known the most were the ones who had put her up to the job. It was annoying. Mariette sighed, as she settled for leaning against the wall of an apartment that she’d been scanning around by opening portals. She couldn’t do that too much, or people with Third Eye would find her, and… sigh. She needed to wind down. Calm down a bit. Just turn off her head a bit, just be comfortable. And she really
couldn’t be comfortable in her home-dimension with the presence of Asengav looming above her…
Hence she randomly opened a portal in front of Lily/Alex wherever they just happened to be at the time, since she knew Lily was on a patrol right nearby.
When the portal opened, Lily was balancing on top of a power line. "Kiyaah!"
She screamed in surprise, causing her to wobble just a bit before she embraced the swing of the power line, showing off her impressive agility."Wait, this is a portal...Mariette!"
Her eyes turned into thunderbolt symbols as she jumped right through the portal, ending up at the apartment Mariette was staying at."It's you! It's really you! Oh my Ixion, this is so crazy!"
She yelled, her excitement very obvious as she rushed to hug Mariette, only to stop herself."Wait, you're the type who hates touching, right? Sorry, forgot! Oh, could you make another portal for Alex at ground level? That would be easier for him, tee hee~"
Mariette’s first thought was something along the lines of “why did I think this would be calming”. She winced first at Lily’s scream, not entirely thinking that perhaps her portal would be alarming, and then Lily jumped through without hesitation and Mariette stumbled back because her intention had been to herself walk out
, not have Lily jumping in
.‘H… hello, Lily…’
Mariette started, breathing out a bit as Lily was shouting about that “it’s you”. ‘“Hates” touching is an exaggeration, I’m just not used to it, but thanks for the consideration,’
Mariette commented, but otherwise simply opened a portal to ground-level for Alexander if he wanted it. ‘I had a moment, so I wanted to reconnect a little,’
Mariette said, decently meaning it.
The apartment itself was one of many abandoned apartments in town, which Mariette had been walking through more regularly than streets these days, with simple tables, a kitchen, a hall, the lot, and it obviously did not belong to Mariette, who stood there slightly awkwardly, holding bunny under her left arm.
Alexander walked through to see the familiar face, and raised a hand in greeting “So what’s up, you got something for us?
” He asked “Things have been kind of...tense, with the new girls around, but I can’t imagine them giving you too hard of a time. Since your magic makes you pretty hard to pin down.
Lily was already checking out the apartment by the time Alex had arrived there, spinning around on a foot..”Is this where you live? It’s...Nice, I think.”
She stopped to hear Mariette. Her eyes widened, and she bit her lip, looking emotional.”M-M-Mariette! Do you...Really mean it?”
She stepped in place, looking like she wanted to run around.”Does that mean that...we’re finally friends? Or is it still too early? I, um, don’t want to force you into it. I know that you’re serious when it comes to your friends.”
Her anxiety came apparent from how fast she was talking. Fortunately Alex was there for her to lean on, and so she clung to his arm when he spoke.”Did you want to talk about something?”
Mariette looked over when Alexander entered, and so raised her own hand in greeting. Before she could entirely respond, Lily was speaking again, and Mariette blinked a bit at her. Huh, this meant that much to her? … It made Mariette wonder a bit. Had she eventually softened? The last time they’d met had been in…‘Oh, yeah… last time was in the Pit Stop, and Violet…’
had given Lily a bit of a lesson. Mariette had appreciated it at the time, but then it had sort of faded out of memory, and Mariette’s version of their relationship had diverged from Lily’s…‘… Indeed, so far I’ve had no trouble avoiding a hard time. Thank you,’
Mariette started to Alex, and then turned to Lily. ‘This is actually not where I live. My place is a lot more unfriendly to anyone not under my patron. This is an interim, a safe place I can take a break in between harsh outside and the tense home where I can feel my patron’s influence all around…’
With that answered, she took a bit of a breath.‘… And yeah. Sure. We can be friends. I don’t… see any harm in it,’
Mariette said, softly. She had something more to say, but perhaps let Lily have a reaction to that first.
Alexander was a bit taken aback ‘Is this really the same girl who told Lily off for being so friendly before? Weird, but I guess I’ve seen stranger things lately
Lily squeed the moment Mariette’s confirmation reached her ears. She then flash-stepped, moving so fast even Mariette’s Awareness wasn’t able to follow her movements before she was caught in a hug.”Thankyouthankyouthankyou!”
She cheered, rubbing her cheek against the paler girl’s own.”I’m so glad we’re friends now! I was afraid you didn’t like me after how much I screwed up! Thank you so much! We’re gonna be the best of friends, I promise you!”
Alexander pulled Lily off of the other girl “Okay woah. I know you’re excited, but try not to make her immediately regret her decision. Personal space and all that.
” He then turned to Mariette “Yeah, you...probably know her well enough to understand how...enthusiastic she can get
Lily blinked with a dumb smile on her face as she was forced to release the dark magical girl, seemingly unaware of the social faux pas she committed. ”Eh?”
It was a good thing Lily didn’t want her dead, Mariette mentally remarked. Because, as perturbed as she was at being hugged, she was far more perturbed by the sheer speed that Lily had hugged her in. There hadn’t even been the option
to avoid her. Now she had to awkwardly stand there getting squeezed by the girl and have her cheek rubbed against while looking rather stunned herself until Alexander separated the two. ‘Y.. Yes, I know how she becomes, thank you,’
Mariette agreed with Alex and breathed out, happy to have a calmer presence here. ‘The time at the diner I was irritable for a number of reasons, but it didn’t make me dislike you. So… don’t worry?’
she then said to Lily, still recovering from the hug.‘Still, it wasn’t entirely just to reconnect that I did contact you, but being friends certainly makes my next request more reasonable,’
Mariette continued. ”Oh, I’m sorry I-Huh?”
Lily was about to blow up into a storm of apologies when Mariette told her not to worry. ”Oh, ok. What is it?”‘I’m currently in the middle of an investigation. It is possible that, when I find the villain, they will attack me, and there’s a theoretical possibility that I’ll end up in peril. Should such a time come, I’d like to know if I can throw up a sudden portal asking you for aid. If I end up able to handle it on my own, I don’t want to have involved you unnecessarily, for even the information could put you in danger. But… it would be nice to know if I could rely on… my friends… at a time of need. Only if I judge the situation to be morally just, of course, not if my patron told me to do something bad. Then I’ll handle it on my own,’
Mariette explained with a serious expression.‘In exchange… I can give you my number,’
Mariette then said, picking up her phone from the portal that was her hammerspace handbag. ‘And so you can call me when you need my help… or just… feel like calling… or something,’
she then finished.
Lily first thought for a moment, and then nodded, looking surprisingly serious as she took out her own phone. ”If you’re in danger, then I’ll be there to protect you, no matter who is after you. That’s what friends do.”
After a moment of quickly tapping on her phone, she collected the number, and showed her own to Mariette in turn. Her eyes seemed to be drawn to something. ”You have a cute phone, Mariette, but it lacks stickers. Want to have some of mine? They’ll make your phone super adorbs.”
“I’m kind of concerned about this trouble you’re expecting. I’ve seen how bullshit your portals can be, and you could easily hold up somewhere safe while taking pot shots at whoever you wanted. So why do you think you’ll be in danger?
” Alexander asked
Mariette nodded thankfully to Lily’s confirmation. ‘That’s what friends do,’
she echoed, her tone one of confirming to herself. Then she blinked a bit in surprise at the next part. ‘Stickers…? Er… sure? I could borrow some…’
Mariette said, having no idea what she was getting herself in on. Wasn’t a phone fine just being a phone…?
Alexander was more on Mariette’s wavelength, asking the questions she had been expecting to be asked. ‘I lack offensive presence, and there’s a good chance I’ll be outnumbered. Other than that, I may be trying to save someone. Saving someone is a time-sensitive thing, and while my portals are adaptable they’re also occasionally slow. Especially with multiple hostiles, I may only have enough awareness to keep myself safe. Hence, it would be greatly appreciated if I have this as a last-resort kind of thing,’
Mariette explained. ‘It is also because my enemy this time might be very powerful. I don’t want to needlessly trouble you if it turns out I can handle it myself.’
Yes, that should do it, Mariette thought.
Alexander nodded “Alright, that makes enough sense. You seem to have a pretty tight grasp on the specifics, so you’re clearly far enough into your investigation to at least have an idea who your opponent is, as well as a possible VIP. So why don’t you tell us exactly what we’re getting ourselves into?
”‘… Because I’d rather not put you in danger if I can avoid it, and the information itself may be dangerous,’
Mariette replied, very briefly.
“I’m...not sure how information can be dangerous...but okay
” Alexander sighed, a little disappointed “It can never be that simple for us, can it?
Unlike Alex who concentrated on the discussion, Lily was ignorant of the topic, rummaging her bag for stickers to hand them out to Mariette: they depicted miscellaneous cute things like hearts and stars and anime girls in a chibified style. ”Here you go, these are all the stickers I have with me, but we can go and get more! Oh, and you should have a keychain too!”
She removed one of hers and attached it to Mariette’s phone: it was a tiny Sailor Moon figurine performing her famous pose. ”I already have three of these, so you can have one! Yes, now your phone is accessorized! Anyway, why does it matter if it’s dangerous, Alex?”
She looked up to him with a confident smile. ”I’m sure Mariette has a good reason for keeping things quiet. I trust her, so should you too,”
she stated with a cute pout.
“Because I’m tired of dangerous things pretty much ambushing us, and would love to be on the other side of it.
” Alexander answered Lily “It’s got nothing to do with trust, and everything to do with prep work and planning.
”‘… Thank you,’
Mariette said, staring with a strange look at the sticker added to her phone and the stickers she’d been given. She didn’t exactly know the purpose of this, but… suppose it was style. Was it her style? … Not sure. In any case, what Alexander said… struck true to Mariette. She considered something about it, and…‘… Alright. Lily, leave us for a bit. I’m going to tell Alexander,’
she said. And before Lily asked why… ‘If I tell you, you’re going to get involved regardless of what I say. That’s just the kind of person you are, and that’s a good thing. But I believe I can tell Alexander, to allow him to prepare for it without necessarily causing trouble, because I believe he’s the kind of person that I can tell this without worrying. Then he can decide what’s best.’ "Oh?"
Lily blinked, not having expected Mariette to confide with them. But then, as the realization dawned on her, she smiled sweetly with a sigh, her eyes having wettened a bit. "This must be hard for you, Mariette. But you can trust Alex. Call me when you're done."
She then turned away, and went to watch TV in the living room.
When Lily was out of earshot, Alexander said “Right, so it’s sounding like this less of a memetic hazard, and more something you’re worried we’ll act on too soon and fuck up everything?
Mariette was thankful Lily didn’t take the solution too badly. She breathed out softly, and then looked at Alexander. ‘… I’m potentially going to battle Ebon Mint, for they captured the small Magical Girl called Sammy. It’s a matter of that drawing the ire of a large underground organization that is not above assassinations is not a good idea for those who typically live in the light, like you two. That’s why I want to attempt handling it myself, first. It won’t just be me, Amaryllis will also be there. However, if things go wrong, then I’d very much rather ask if you’d want to risk helping me than that I die or fail, never having asked,’
Alexander groaned “Wonderful, this is just what we need; another organization causing trouble. We haven’t even gotten rid of the zealots that moved in...and now this
” he shook his head in frustration “If...if it really comes down to it, then yeah, I’ll help. Fuck knows why I’m saying yes; since this has nothing to do with me. Lily’s clearly a bad influence on me.
Mariette nodded to his reaction, decently understanding it. ‘Thank you. That means a lot to me. I’ll leave it to you if you want to tell Lily about this, but the situation is mostly that Amaryllis hired me to help, and therefore I will be saving Sammy. She didn’t know it was the Mint until I investigated and found it to be the case, but now we’ll be moving on to investigating different points of interest until we can track the girl down. At any point during this, the Ebon Mint might decide to ambush us, and that’s when I might want the help… and also during the rescue mission itself, depending on how many hostiles we find there to be. I just gave Lily my number, so you can reach me there if you have questions or would like to change your stance on the matter. For now, you can continue your life, and if the situation has resolved I’ll let you know. And, if a random portal appears in front of you, be ready it might be that I’m requesting aid. Does this work with you?’
Alexander opened his mouth to say something snarker, before pausing. He then shook his head and said “Yeah...yeah that’s fine. I’m going to need some time to get some stuff ready. I could get a few temporary power boosting trinkets ready in a couple of days, maybe some healing items too. It’ll have to be something on the side though, since I’m working on something for Lily. But if you really think you’ll need some gear, I can put a rush on it.
Mariette initially nodded, then looked a bit surprised towards the end of that. ‘”I’ll” need some gear? I really wasn’t… expecting you to make things for me, if that’s what you’re saying. That said, if you are… I’d be very thankful.’
“There’s not a lot I can make. Healing stuff, power boosting stuff, things that can make shields. It’s basically me storing my spells in something solid for later use. They don’t last too long unless I put in a lot of time and effort into making them solid enough, and even then I’d still need to fix them from time to time. So the best I can do is a bunch of disposable stuff that might come in handy. If you need time to think about what you’re going to need then fine, just get in contact with me once you know what you want.
”‘… Alright. Then, wide-spread shields and healing artifacts are what I may need the most. My portals can be unreliable as shields depending on how quick or many the enemy attacks are, and our investigation party currently lacks a healer should someone get hurt so that would also be greatly appreciated,’
Mariette said, still looking a little off-guard because making something for her? Huh. Is he about to ask about payment? Mariette expected him to, any second now.
Alexander nodded “Got it. Oh, and by the way; these are really only going to be good for a couple of hours of continued use, and you’ll have to use your own mana to use them. The shields don’t drain mana once there up, but you can pour more into them to reinforce/fix them. So if they’re still functioning after the fight, you can just keep them if you want. Was there anything else I needed to know?
”‘That is fine. I have a lot of mana,’
Mariette commented with a nod, taking in all the information that Alexander was telling her. At the end, she felt she had sufficient understanding, and… ‘I believe that should be all, I’ve sufficiently told you what I’m doing and what I might need help with. We can call back Lily now,’
” Alexander turned around to face the direction Lily was in “Okay Lily, we’re done! Get in here!
” He yelled to her.”Okay!”
Lily came walking back, holding a big cup of popcorn.”Man, that South Korean film on TV was really good! I think it was called Parasite.”
She took Alex’ hand.”But I only managed to catch a few minutes of it. How about we buy the Bluray on our way home?”
She asked, before turning to Mariette.”I’m glad you got to an understanding. Anyway, we gotta go now. Bye, see you later!”
She waved goodbye, before leading Alex out through a portal.
“Where did you get the popcorn?
” Alexander mumbled to himself as Lily dragged him through the portal.
Mariette was a bit surprised that, almost as soon as Lily returned, she was also about to leave. Guess that’s simply how this girl operated, at pretty high speed. Still, Mariette raised a small hand to wave them off. 'Goodbye for now. You have my number if you need me,’
she simply said, letting them get back out on the street before closing said portal and being left on her own again. … Those were Eli’s popcorn, that she’d prepared for when she returned from her scouting mission. … … … … … Oh, well.
About ten seconds after Lily emerged from the portal with Alex, she was already talking about the movies she'd like to buy...
...When a tiny Magical Girl rounded the corner and completely froze, staring wide eyed at them… before she grinned widely.‘Lily Lightning! I’ve found you! … Oh, and Alex, too!’
said the currently unknown little girl in the obviously eastern-inspired samurai-outfit, grinning at them.
Lily stopped in her tracks, looking surprised. "Whoah! So cool!"
She immediately dashed over with high speed, looking around the tiny warrior. "Very nice cosplay, I-wait, how did you know my name? I'm not that famous, right?"
She looked back at Alex with a confused expression. "So you’re magical girl then. I really hope you're not here to test my skills in battle. That would be a big bummer.”
Alexander rubbed the back of his head “I…think we’ve met her before? She looks like one of the tiny girls that hung around Mariette. Although the Eastern outfit is new, and she doesn’t look as...slime-like as those girls.
”‘Heeey, it’s not cosplay, it’s my Magical Girl outfit! … Which is kinda cosplay, sure, but it’s also kinda just my uniform! Haha!’
the little samurai claimed with a little laugh, grinning widely as Lily looked her over. Then Alexander said that, and she had to act really darn quickly.‘Huh? Mariette? Who’s that? Anyway, no, I’m not here to test your skills!’
the girl said, before giving the both of them a salute. ‘I am Ronin! I came to find you because my new friend Penny told me you’d be a good person to befriend! I want to make friends with as many people as possible, and so asked her where I could find other friends! And so…’
Ronin grinned widely. ‘Will you be my friend?’
Lily’s mouth turned into a circle, looking baffled. ”Wait, you know Penny?”
Her eyes turned into sparkles at the mention of friendship. ”I can’t believe it! For the first time, someone actually comes up to me, and-”
Her hair electrified as her excitement expressed itself through magic. ”YEEESSS!”
She screamed, anb grabbed Ronin in a hug, lifting her high into the air while rapidly spinning around. ”Today’s my lucky day to get so many new friends! Yahoo!”
She then stopped spinning, having realized that Ronin’s face was turning green. ”Whoops, my bad! I just got so excited I couldn’t help it! Where do you come from Ronin? I haven’t seen you before in Penrose.”
Alexander, not believing her claim that she wasn’t one of Mariette’s friends, opened his mouth to call bullshit, before pausing and closing his mouth while shaking his head ‘Fuck it, I don’t care enough. If she wants to mess around like this, then I’m sure as hell not going to stop her. It’s not worth the headache.
Ronin sounded out in surprise as she found herself squeezed by the excited girl’s hug and then promptly spun around by Lily. Now, Ronin was a Genki Girl herself, but Lily totally out-Genki-ed her right now. Ronin laughed as she was put down on the ground again, stumbling a bit. ‘Weee, hahahaha! Yay, I got more friends…!’
Ronin said, smiling widely. ‘Yeah, I arrived in Penrose just recently! As for where I came from, well,’
Deni thought her answer over, and considered how to change the question in her mind so that her answer wasn’t a lie.‘I’m actually from Penrose, I just wasn’t a Magical Girl until very recently! Had to move out of town while I was still normal, and one day I woke up a Magical Girl! Something had given me power, and I had no idea what and was very confused, waking up in the middle of nowhere with no patron… but fortunately, I met Valkyrie and Amanda and then Penny and now I’m up to date on how everything works and what’s been going on, and just seek to make the most friends ever and defend the world from whatever may come our way! Yeah!’
Ronin claimed happily. Her story was true… assuming “normal” was her state living in Penrose as a Monster Girl, which is different
from being a Magical Girl like now, and “move out of town” was due to being consumed by Caroline. Yupp. ”That’s awesome!”
Lily responded, still recovering from her terminal case of hype. Then, she turned surprisingly smug.”Well, clearly Penny knows the creme de la creme when it comes to friends, tee hee~”
She flipped her short hair back with a hand on her hip, attempting to imitate a celebrity type.”Since she has so cordially directed you to me, it is only fair that I will make your stay in Penrose hospitable.”
She then dropped the act as fast as she began it. ”Let’s go watch movies together! Wait, maybe ice-skating! No, Ski Jumping! Oh, I Know! AVALANCHE SNOWBOARDING!”
She was screaming by the end of her suggestions, until she realized she had let her excitement take the best of her. ”...Or...Um...We could work together and destroy some monsters. Just, casually, no big deal...That alright?”
Alexander spoke up “For the record; I am 100% on board with this ‘go around killing monsters’ idea. I think it is incredibly well thought out, and I’d be proud to be a part of it. So let’s do that.
Ronin just grinned widely at Lily’s act and then the subsequent suggestions. ‘I’m totally on-board! I want to see how well my new Magical Girl body would do in skating, jumping, or snowboarding! Oh, but I have a TON of movies I’d like to see, too! … But Alexander seems to be more leaning towards hunting monsters together, so let’s do that, first! Oh, and let’s befriend anyone who dares cross our paths!’
Ronin called, continuing to grin, skipping a bit on the spot, excited to get moving. ”Great! Let’s go!”
Lily took Alex’ hand enthusiastically, following Ronin as they went on to have a good time together.
“I’m not sure ‘befriending’ works the way you think it does, but hey; you do you.
” Alexander said to ‘Ronin’.‘It totally does!’
Ronin claimed with another little grin, and then they were off on the streets.
It didn’t entirely matter when, where, how or why, eventually any person had to be alone for a while. It was simply a matter of being patient enough to await the time when they’d be alone. For a being that may as well have existed since the beginning of time itself, patience was something the elfin monster-girl had a significant amount of. Fortunately, Kimble was hardly the secretive type, occasionally going off and just being extremely cat-like, so it didn’t take all that long before an opportunity arose.
It eventually came to pass that Kimble was wandering on her own, balancing on fences before she jumped inside an abandoned convenience store, pouncing on the few rats inside. However, upon catching them, Kimble simply released them; she no longer had the urge to kill, and simply continued the stalking out of a force of habit.
Suddenly someone spoke to her from behind.‘Kimble,’
Lea said her name, the creature in green dress floating abscently in mid-air behind the girl, on a ten meter distance so as to not startle her too badly. Last time they met, Lea had falsely introduced herself as Frida Merkel. Time to see if the no-longer cat-girl remembered.
“Nya?” Kimble meowed with a curious look as she turned, and gave a cute smile upon seeing Lea. “Oh, Frida! Nice to see you againya!” She hopped up on a shelf, knocking the various box of cereal down. “Thank you again for helping me: I managed to confess my feelings to my one true love, and she didn’t reject them! And now we’ve even gone on dates!” Her tails whipped around in a sign of joy, though Lea couldn’t help but notice something was off about them.‘… Well done. You’ve attained something that many but dreams of,’
Lea replied, not actually very concerned if Kimble gets loved or not. Now immediately onto the subject at hand, due to Lea being bad at wasting time. ‘I came to find you again because I grew interested in you, as one of ours affiliated with Beacon, perhaps you were a sign Beacon had grown more accepting of our kin…’
… then Lea slightly tilted her head, inspecting the tails and ears… ‘… Yet I see you’re not of our kin anymore. It is a shame. They could not accept you as you were, so they removed the parts of you they couldn’t accept, leaving the parts they could so you could stay. Is that it?’
Kimble's joy quickly turned into sorrow. "Nyo, that's not true! Mistress is accepting, I know she is." She averted her eyes, her tails lifted up in an agitated manner. "I did change, but I wanted to! Now I can be with Mistress…" She lifted a hand up to her cat-eared hairband. "So it's okay, nya."‘… Oh?’
Lea kept her head tilted a bit, watching Kimble’s reactions. ‘Then tell me. If hypothetically I came to talk to them, or even that they found you to be talking to me…’
Lea intentionally let a bit of a fluttering ripple go through her body, for a brief moment her mid-section was completely separated and see-through, simply to show the fact Lea wasn’t entirely corporeal
… ‘… How would your allies react, currently?’
Kimble first blinked, not having understood. "Nh? Well, they would-" Her eyes shot wide open, and she let out a distressed meow. "They'd kill you. But I won't let it happen! Even when Mistress was in a tough spot, she chose the right thing, and even risked her life for it. So, I'll also do the right thing and protect you, nya."‘…’
Lea was intrigued. This little former monster girl was saying she’d protect Lea, and that it’d be the right thing to do? How could she assume protecting Lea would be the right thing to do, after such limited contact? ‘… Hm,’
she smiled the slightest of a smile. Curious creature. Doing so would potentially lose you your new allies. … Lea didn’t say that out loud, but. ‘I appreciate the gesture. I’ll avoid a scenario where you have to do so,’
she shared. … Well, with that confirmed. How about going to the main subject?‘I heard rumors of some form of “White Coin”. Am I correct in assuming it’s what changed you?’
Kimble nodded, and hopped off the shelf. “Nyes. The kind Cardinal gave me a White Coin, and it purr-ified me!” She now went to scrounge around the freezer, and found a box of fried fish n’ chips. “It also gave a Shiney Sparkle that will protect me, nya! Now only Mistress can put a leash on me!” She took the box to the break room in the back, preparing to heat it in a microwave.‘Hm,’
Lea nodded a bit, confirming that. ‘What does it take to have a White Coin offered to you instead of them killing you on the spot? The two options appear rather contrary,’
she continued, floating abscently after Kimble as she asked, merely watching as Kimble warmed herself a snack.
After the food was heated, Kimble separated the contents into two plates, one for the fried fish sticks, and the other for chips. “Well, it depends on if you seem like a monster who wants to attack, or one that doesn’t. If you ask nicely, I’m sure they’d at least listen first, nya.” She sat down by the table and began eating the fish sticks, offering the plate of chips to Lea. “You can have these, Frida.”‘Hm. I see,’
Lea said, her face as straight as possible. Then she realized Kimble was plating up for two. The first thing that occurred to Lea was that Kimble had to be waiting for someone else… but then she was offered them herself. Lea stared silently a bit. She was used to being bribed in the Overcity, by people who wanted something from her… but Kimble appeared to simply be so innocent that she just did it automatically. … ‘Thank you,’
Lea said, using focused wind magic to grab the plate. Hm. Fish. … ‘I am curious about you, now, Kimble,’
she said, gently slicing up the fish sticks into more agreeable portions using focused air-molecules and more wind-magic. ‘Where did you come from? How did you become affiliated with Beacon?’
So Lea asked, as she gently started picking the individual pieces of fish to chew on while listening to Kimble.
Kimble was nibbling on a fish stick when she heard Lea’s q uestion. Her ears drooped a bit.
“I...I was born in Mama Lamashtu’s litter,” she quietly answered after a moment of silence.
“Mama Lamashtu was nice, nyeh; she told me she had high expectations for me. But, one day, when I was on my own...Justine put a leash on me, and I was forced to be her pet.” She hissed.
“I don’t remember much of it, just small moments...But she was bad. I might have been stuck with her forever...When Mistress saved me.” Her expression brightened as her ears sprang up, and she blushed.
“She saved my life...And when she looked into my eyes...I was in love, nya. And well...You know the rest, nya!”‘… I see,’
Lea said, far less full of expression than Kimble had. ‘… I could take you back to Lamashtu, if you so wished. But, I expect you’re happy where you are,’
Lea suggested, knowing who said Lamashtu was. She could find her. Still, another thing occurred to her. ‘It appears our stories are not so dissimilar. I, too, was born powerful, told I was of highest quality, but then later brought down to a lower level. Yet, the one who leashed me was my beloved, and I acted as his second. I needed no savior, for I was happy…’
… Happy until, for whatever reason, Mariette was put in charge of this operation. Lea frowned the slightest. What did that little upstart-!? Lea shook her head a bit, to shake off the negative emotions.
A chip fell from Kimble’s mouth, her eyes staring directly at Lea. “Back to...Mama...” It seemed she hadn’t thought of it being a possibility in the first place, and her tails whipped the ground behind her as she thought hard about it. “Nhh...I could see her again...After all this time...”
She listened as Lea told of her own story, occasionally nodding, but clearly caught up in her own inner turmoil. Finally, she placed a firm hand on the table.
“Okay! I wanna see Mama! Because, once I see her, I can ask her why she never rescued me.” She looked angry, surprising Lea. “And I’m gonna say I’ve found a new family, and that she can forget about me, nya!”
Lea indeed blinked. She did not think such a notion would have such an emotional impact on the former cat-girl. Ask why she never rescued her… ‘… Heh,’
Lea smirked a bit. Anger, huh? She wanted to see her mother… in anger
. Such a precious little reaction. Lea couldn’t retract her smile. She was angry
at her mother. Just like Lea was angry
for Mariette being given the gifts she had not. How exceptionally endearing. This girl…She wanted this girl.‘… Very well. I will find her for you. However, I’d like something in exchange…’
Lea said, unable to remove her smirk.
All around the room, outside as well as inside, unbeknown to Kimble, small specks of magical power started to move. Little magical minions, crawling about inside walls and on top of the roof, by the doors. Slowly but surely they gathered to lock away all the exits. Because she wanted to collect this girl, take her for her own. Her hoarder
mentality had decided that she’d lay claim to this girl and add her to her collection…‘Frida,’
Mariette’s voice spoke silently within Lea’s head, through the communicator embedded within her incorporeal head before embarking on this mission, not audible to Kimble.
Lea growled in slight irritation, and the tiny magical minions retreated, her mental corruption temporarily kept in check by Mariette’s reminder, and Kimble was safe for at least this encounter. Still, from Kimble’s perspective Lea had now sat silently since the last words she’d spoke, despite them begging to have a follow-up.
Kimble’s ears flicked, and she turned her head around. “...Huh? Did I say something strange, nya?” She asked. “Maybe you heard something?”
Lea stayed quiet as she looked at Kimble… and the voice in her head spoke some more. Describing what they could have use of. … So be it.‘… I will take you to Lamashtu. In exchange, I want you to take me into Beacon HQ,’
Lea told, raising her head a bit. ‘Show me around. I have often imagined how it must look in there, and I’d like to see it for myself. Of course, I understand that you cannot bring a Monster Girl inside the building…’
… Lea held forward a hand as she finished talking, and… a single butterfly jumped off her finger. A green, moderately pretty butterfly. Then, Lea’s form as it was completely scattered, a mass of butterflies suddenly released of the power that controlled them and they flew off in various directions, while the single butterfly simply fluttered over to settle down on Kimble’s finger if she allowed it.‘… but perhaps bringing a single butterfly would be possible?’
Lea’s voice asked, from the butterfly.
Kimble's mouth rounded into a look of surprise when Lea gave her offer, and her ears flicked. "Well, I'd need to ask Mistress first…" She mumbled. But then, when Lea took the form of a single butterfly, the girl's eyes sparkled. "Oh, now I don't have to ask. Like this, I can show you the place without anyone asking questions, nya." She sniffed the butterfly, and gave a catlike smile. "But just a quick tour, okay?"
Lea wasn’t entirely comfortable being sniffed on as a butterfly. She wasn’t entirely comfortable revealing the fact she could manifest as a mere butterfly to someone this affiliated with Beacon. Still, if this were her means to infiltrate Beacon HQ…‘A quick tour should do nicely,’
the butterfly replied.