Description: Namie discovers that her friend Miki has come back from her training trip, claiming to no longer be interested in martial arts... but will she find out the true reason why?
One of the local coffee shops was having an event. They were showcasing a brand new array Latte flavors and had drawn quite a crowd. People had gathered around as busy baristas did their work brewing coffee and nurturing foam. Such a spectacle could never escape the perception of Namie Yamada, and so she had wandered over to see what all the fuss about. This, even as others were walking away with looks of confusion. Without even looking at the signs she got in line, eyes widening while she lets out a loud, "Woooaah!" as she reaches the counter.
What awaits her are monstrosities such as 'Vanilla-Pineappple' and 'Ginger-Pear', the delightful fusion treats more than most stomachs and tastebuds can bear. After some time she finally settles upon Papaya Kiwi. It is, of course, awful. And so she only buys one.
Walking away with a truly perplexed look on her face she takes a sip. "Ew!" Her nose wrinkles, and she takes another drink, "Gross!" As she leaves the hubub behind her she walks towards home, idly forgetting what she's holding onto and drinking yet more of her coffee treat. "Ewwwwww!" she shouts, stopping to stomp her right foot several times on the ground as the flavor assaults her tongue, only to shake her head. "This is disgusting! What were they thinking?!" She then continues on her way, immediately taking another sip, "Yuck!"
It's right about then she pauses, about to make another turn towards her house but looking off in the other direction, towards where she usually meets one of her friends. She hasn't seen her in some time, though. It'd probably be a foolish waste of time to check. ...but she does anyway. Turning away from home she goes along the sidewalk, making an annoyed sound while slowly sipping at her coffee through it's straw. By the time she arrives she's walking with her eyes closed, tears running down her cheeks while emitting a sound of pure displeasure. But she opens her eyes and it's suddenly forgotten, lowering the cup and hopping in surprise.
"Miki! You're back!"
A very high, mostly intact wooden wall surrounds a house and dojo that were made in the nineteen hundreds. The rooves is falling in, and half the paper doors are rotted away. Vines grow up through the porch outside.
A large yard of uncut grass.
Abandoned, of course, although why such a place is abandoned and undeveloped downtown was a mystery to everyone. It is, however, the perfect place to fight after class.
And... a girl wearing a golden kung fu outfit sits on top of the wall. No, wait. Unlike usual, that's not an outfit designed for fighting.
Miki Murakami sits atop the wall in her golden, absurdly long-sleeved kimono, an old-fashioned silk umbrella with a straight wooden handle in her lap. The umbrella is blue with some colored patterns, but it's hard to see what those patterns are.
She closes her eyes and inclines her head slightly as her friend greets her. "Indeed, my friend."
"I realized on my training trip that Miki Murakami has reached the limits of her ability in fighting. Therefore, I gave it up."
She opens up the umbrella, and hops down onto the ground, the umbrella slowing her fall a bit, lands on two feet and crouches down a bit to absorb the weight before standing back up, snapping the umbrella shut.
"I still consider you a friend, but I think the time has come for us to fight in different arenas."
Namie takes a few quick, hopping steps forwards and stops in front of Miki after she slides off the wall. "It's good to see you again! I was starting to miss talking to you and sparring with you." She gives her friend a curious look and then closes her eyes to laugh, "Hahahaha! That's a good one, Miki! You should use that on everyone."
She's about to reach over and pat the shorter girl on the shoulder to emphasize her comment, only to remember what's in her hand. "Ohhh, I have something funny for you, too!" She swishes the latte around a little to make sure the flavoring is well mixed, and then holds it out, straw first, towards Miki. With a grin she adds, "It's gross, but you -have- to try it to find out how."
She'll hold it out until it's tasted or rejected, and then ask, "Where did you go, anyway? It's extra mean to keep something like that from me, you know."
"I was on a training trip. In a forest. And I learned there that without Chi, I can't progress beyond what I've already accomplished." Miki rests the tip of the umbrella on the ground, lowers her head. "It's time for Miki Murakami to give up on that dream. It's time for me to try other things." She barely moves her mouth the entire conversation so far, which is something she does when she's acting more formal sometimes, but it's been a long time since she's done it that much in only Namie's presence.
"I /have/ to try it?" She raises an eyebrow, leans down to take the straw in her mouth, calmly takes a sip. Her eyes widen, and she spins to one side to spit it out, then spits repeatedly, "Gods, what is that thing!?" If you looked at just a moment, you might see the tiger-like fangs that she has now somehow acquired as she tries to expel that vile poison from her mouth.
She raises her arm up to lick her sleeve - anything to get that horrible taste off, and looks back to narrow her eyes at Namie. "You really do want to learn everything, don't you? Even if it's incredibly dangerous? Even if it destroys you, or worse, tastes like /that/?"
"Wait, you're -serious- about that? You really think you can't go any farther? That's ridiculous!" Namie tosses her hands up in the air, and it's a good thing Miki took her sip when she did or she might have gotten viciously poked by the straw. "You can't just give up a lifelong dream because of one setback. Even if it's a major one. -Especially- if it's a major one! And since when do you quit any anything people tell you you can't do, anyway?"
The brief tirade is cut short as she sees the reaction to the drink, unable to help laughing just a little, "Isn't it just the worst? It's a Papaya Kiwi Latte, the latest experiment from Mocha Bistro. And no, I don't want to learn everything. Just the things that affect me, like trendily awful coffee -everybody- is going to be talking about tomorrow." She makes a small grin and goes to drink more of her latte, only to catch sight of one of the fangs and jump back, letting out a shout of surprise while dropping the drink in a move sure to disgust the ants walking on the sidewalk tomorrow.
"M-m-m-miki!" she stutter-shouts, pointing dramatically towards the latter's mouth. "What happened?!" And then a moment later her eyes widen further and she steps in very close, trying to take her friend at the elbows and switch positions, so the Kimono clad girl is facing away from the street instead of towards it. Her shock and fear are gone, suddenly replaced with a bubbly excitement.
"Miki. Miki!" Desperately as she tries, the grin can not be wiped from her face as she bounces on her toes. "What /happened/?"
Miki lets Namie guide her, and shakes her head slowly. "I suppose Miki Murakami was foolish for believing that she could keep a secret from you." She places an arm around Namie's shoulder, draws her in. "I'll tell you everything. But you seriously can't tell -anyone- this, no matter what. Promise?" Without waiting for an answer, she leans in closer continues to speak, growing increasingly energetic and lower her volume, until she's practically beaming, but whispering.
"I went to this ancient temple and released the spirit of a tiger and it entered my body and now it's part of me and we fight as one but it's beginning to transform me and I need to beat people up and devour scraps of their human energy so it doesn't keep on changing my body because it's not socially acceptable to look like that in this day and era but I only figured that after the teeth came in but I kind of like how they look however once again not societally acceptable." She smiles, lips tightly closed, then releases Namie, and whispers fiercely, "I finally have power!"
She jumps up against the wall and scrambles up it as usual, but her movements seem lighter, easier. Like she's holding back. She flips over the top of it into the yard with it's tall grass, and vanishes from sight.
"Well, yeah!" is quickly replied with a laugh as Miki comments on keeping secrets, and nods her head as she leans in. "You know I'd never tell." Then she goes into listening mode as her friend spills the beans, giving little nods and blinks of surprise. She looks thoughtful for a moment, though her thinking is broken at the final whispered exclamation, laughing a little. "I'm happy for you! I think."
She is caught by surprise when her friend suddenly shoots over the wall, quickly moving to follow by jumping up and kicking off a light to clear the wall. When she hits the ground she tucks into a roll and uses the momentum to quickly pop back up to her feet, looking around for her friend afterwards. "And here I was for a moment almost thinking I'd have to tell Miki Murakami she'd just have to find 'another way' to get stronger. I thought giving up was beyond strange for you." She pauses then, eyebrows coming together as she crosses her arms, appearing slightly annoyed and slightly hurt, looking down into the grass, "I wish you wouldn't lie to me, though. Even if it's something like this."
Or only for a minute, the implied context.
Miki frowns slightly. "Lie? Miki Murakami isn't going to fight any further, at least for now, and without Chi, she couldn't have gotten any farther. For now, I'll fight under different identities. She's silent for a moment, nods. "It wasn't a lie, exactly, but I grant it was a large deception." She puts her hands together, bows formally. "My apologies for not being more honest with you, Miss Namie Yamada. I didn't want to expose you to this danger." She straightens back up, smiles, with her teeth this time. Which means with her fangs, too.
The head of a pink tiger made purely out of energy, with darker pink stripes emerges from her, and she puts a hand down as if to scratch it behind the ears. "This is me now." After a moment, the tiger is pulled back into her body, and she looks just a little more tired.
A quiet, thoughtful moment, and Namie bows in return, "I accept your apology, Miki. I understand you might not want me in danger, especially if I understood what you said about 'human energy'... but you know me well enough that I'd rather know and be in danger than not know." She taps her chin a little, "But you know, I may be more curious than most, but everybody is going to think something's up if you just up and quit training, especially if it's right after going on a trip. Inquisitive minds will want to know; after all working hard to become a powerful fighter was your defining quality!"
When the tiger head appears the tall girl blinks in surprise, slowly inching closer until the head disappears. "So that is the spirit of the tiger that was absorbed into your body... I never would have guessed it was pink. The new you..." She looks deeply thoughtful as she stares at Miki's Kimono clad stomach, eyebrows coming together and forming a little line between them, lips pursing with something important clearly on her mind.
She looks up. "What's it's name?"
"...Name? It's part of me now." Miki shakes her head a little. "I don't see much point in giving it a name." She pauses. "I don't even know what I'd call it. Miki-two? Whiskers? Tora?" She's never had a pet. After a moment, she shrugs, and moves onto the other topic at hand. "I know that it's going to be hard for people to swallow. But fighting without my teeth or my energy showing up is going to be too hard as Miki Murakami. It's the best solution I have." She smiles. "However, if you can think of a better cover story for why I am not, I would be delighted to hear it."
A pause. "Perhaps I could have accidentally killed someone in a fight. I can be uncomfortable about the issue, and then give that as my story if pushed too far. Yes, that sounds plausible." A pause. "Although, once people figured out the connection... hmm."
She smiles at Namie, and brings her umbrella up to lean against her shoulder. "Enough about me, however. How have you been doing, my friend?"
"It has to have a name," Namie insists quietly while still curiously studying Miki's stomach. Finally she stands back up and laughs, "I'd name it Shinma! But it should be you who decides that for sure." As the topic is changed she gives a small frown, and then shrugs, "You don't really have a choice but to make up a story. I don't think you should say you almost killed someone though, that'll just get people looking at you real funny, especially at your school. You might get in trouble just for having that kind of rumor about you, too." Oh, the rumors that abound about the exclusive all-girls school at Taiyo.
She taps her foot and reaches back to flip her ponytail fully over her back, and then shrugs again, "If I was you, I'd just say you were focusing on practicing your form rather than sparring. It's believable enough, and to be honest you really should keep doing that anyway even if you do suddenly have new power."
When the subject turns to her she grins, "I've been doing great! There's only been one big test since you've been gone at school so I haven't had to spend all my time studying. Lana got a crush on another boy, and I figured out who it was -before she did-. That was amazing! ...oh, and I found out what that scratching noise was in my room. I -told- you I wasn't crazy. My sister found some stupid annoy device on the internet and hid it under my mattress. Ugh!" She crosses her arms and looks away, muttering, "I should have found it first, it was perfect."
"Practicing my form... yes, that sounds fairly believable. Perhaps I'm trying to draw out my chi through martial perfection." Miki nods, and listens to the news. "Who does Lana have a crush on now? Last time it was that Aoki guy, right? The one with scissors?" She pauses. "Or is it a secret this time? If so, I don't need to know, of course."
Just then, her nose twitches, and she lets out a soft sound which is somewhere between a sigh and a growl. "Seems like I need to go absorb some human energy. You take care, Namie." She crouches down a little bit, leaps up, onto the top of the wall in one jump - certainly beyond what she could do before.
"Her teacher." Namie cracks a grin and then busts out laughing, only to wave her hand in front of herself, "D-don't! It shouldn't be funny anymore!" Even so, she's laughing. "I-If you see her don't be too hard on her, that was last week's fun. She's already embarrassed, I don't want her getting depressed."
When her friend starts to leave she smiles, "Okay! It was good seeing you again. I'm glad you're back!" Then she pauses and tilts her head and asks, sounding concerned, "Though... what does it mean to absorb human energy, Miki?"
Miki smiles at Namie's reaction to Lana's crush on her teacher, nods slightly at the request not to be too hard on her.
"I'm glad to see you too, Namie. To absorb human energy? Fighting people, devouring wisps of their chi. Have to find people who can fight back, it doesn't work on weaklings." ...apparently she tested that? "There don't seem to be any unrecoverable effects from it so far, but I'd still like to avoid fighting you, my friend. Just in case." She smiles. "I missed you."
And with that, she turns, jumps down the other side of the wall, and is gone.
Log created on 22:34:45 01/04/2015 by Miki, and last modified on 15:45:05 01/05/2015.