Terumi - A Midnight Chat

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Description: As Clio ponders her future path and whether NOL can be the light she desires, an unwanted presence intrudes on her; Hazama, the acting Intelligence Colonel. Amidst the stars, he offers his side of the story she has discovered.



[CLIO]
It's not always easy to get past some of the breaks in the defensive line held around the city. Though for Clio St. Jeanne, who is already been skulking and sneaking in abandoned places, rooting out the problems she's seen in the monsters that slither in the dark, escape is just a matter of course. She's out of uniform here, no reason to endanger much of her job. Hooded sweatshirt on, long leggings for warmth. The wide collar hanging around her neck. But the chain isn't attached. She has that wrapped around her arm, using it to carry and climb from tree to tree, hopping to the ground when convenient, but sticking with arboreal movement as prudent. She has left her usual area for stargazing to find another. And the quiet forest she came to when she first came to Japan was the prime location.

A quiet zone, some part spared by the mountain battles and near the peninsula on which Southtown sits. A place to find a break in the trees and to look up on what stars are in the sky. A place to consider, to search herself for what her life has shown her. For the shining hope of a new beginning in Japan, to confront a toxic nature to the place that once looked so bright to her. The darkness of night was always a greater comfort for Clio St. Jeanne. And the dimming dusk was no different. She could find a place to perch here, and to look up as the sun sets. The orange gold of the distant sunset behind her as the stars came into the sky over the ocean. A patchwork, specks of light in a sacred blanket of night. She laughs to herself, and rubs a bare, makeup free eye. How na´ve she was to think knights could be a thing.

[TERUMI]
"My, my. A penny for your thoughts, Ms. St. Jeanne?"

The voice rings a moderate distance behind the woman. She's liable to recognize the voice as someone she likely dreaded meeting after the recent events. A tall, slender man in the pure black of the Intelligence Department. Only offset by the shock of green hair, seeming to stand out more in the darkness that swathes around him like a comfortable cloak. "Your actions have been a little erratic lately... is there something on your mind? You can always confide in your troubles to a superior officer, you know!"

[CLIO]
Clio St. Jeanne looks down from her spot in the tree. The man down below was not the one she wanted to see. And yet, here and now she doesn't feel fear at the sight of seeing him. She just smiles from above, like a cat watching a bird. "Despite what they say, I like your hair," she tells him, clinking the coils of chain around her arm.

"As for my actions, my commander is Colonel Kagura Mutsuki. If there are any particulars you need to discuss, I think the," she bounces the length of chain, dangling the spike downward, "chain of command suggests you take up concerns with him." Divisional differences, how they dogged Clio in America. To think they could be useful here. "So, come out here to bird watch? Hear there are good things at night."

[TERUMI]
"You flatter me." Hazama comments with just the slightest laugh, one hand remaining atop his hat as the other stays buried within a pants pocket. His stance is relaxed, and to someone with keenly honed instincts from a large amount of conflict, her first thought would be that he's not a combative. Of course, there's a lot of verbal evidence to the contrary. "Don't be like that, Second Lieutenant. At the moment, I am a Colonel as well, operating with the seal of the Imperator. I can prove this if you wish to go through the empty motions." He's quiet at the latter comment, letting out a small laugh. "You speak like someone who believes they know all the answers. But is that the case? Someone with a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. Especially so far from the big picture... there's no need for subtle nuances. Please, be frank with me, Second Lieutenant. You're free to speak your mind."

[CLIO]
Clio's eyes are bright as the night falls. She's more awake when the sun isn't up. Strange bit of her. But it doesn't remain totally dark, the chain around her arm glows with an arcane energy running through the etched markings along its length. It casts the light in strange shadows over Clio as she clinks the chains together.

"Do I?" she asks. "I've given my reports on the encounter with Ikari, if they aren't filed, again, take it up with Colonel Mutsuki. Or, probably his coffee boy. I think he does most of the filing, and the way I hear it, Colonel Mutsuki isn't always great with paperwork, is he?" Clio asks. "I don't know everything."

She points up toward the horizon and the light of her chain dims. "Take a look out there," she says. "How much do you know about stars? Can you see that bright one? Always was may favorite. Sirius. Technically it fluctuates a lot of colors, but mostly it looks kind of bluish white. And it's the brightest one in all that darkness."

[TERUMI]
There's a mild glance given to the chain, muted interest from Hazama. "A fine choice in weaponry, if I do say so myself." he teases. He marches over to stand directly beneath Clio, although there's no hint of menace or danger to him right now. "Astrology...? I do believe in fate, but I've never believed it etched up in the skies. Although thinking it comes from the heavens might not be inaccurate." After a few moments of thoughtful deliberation, "I would say I admire Aries the most. Amidst all the myths, legends, and shifting interpretations over humankind, Aries has always been the ram. I wonder what caused such a long-term consensus, mmm?" After some moments, "I suppose you are suffering from much the same as First Lieutenant Tsubaki. Questionable sources offering you intelligence. I am curious why you believe such, rather than coming to speak with me on the veracity of such claims. As I said, I work for the Imperator. I am an... unpleasant requirement. All organizations require someone like me. Certainly you can understand that?"

[CLIO]
Clio laughs, mostly to herself. "Astronomy," she corrects, looking downward at the man below her. Her arm twists and coils the spiked plumb back to her hand. "And it was convenient to learn it in Metro. After all, much easier to hide a chain than a sword or a shield."

Clio looks back out at the distance. She doesn't mention Tsubaki, but the name of her former classmate and friend pricks her ear up. "You're in Intelligence," he says, "You should know why." She twists along the tree to another branch, walking to the end of it and again looking out at the distant bluish star.

"The world is not all sweetness and light," Clio says with a small laugh. "I don't know exactly what my mother had scrubbed before she got me into the Academy," she says, turning around and straddling the branch to look back at Hazama. "There's a lot of unpleasantness in the world. But that's why who we are in the dark matters most." She sits up straight and narrows her eyes in the dimming light. "Not all darkness is the same. Not all shadows are void of light."

[TERUMI]
"Well, of course some of what the Ikari says is true. I'll admit it. I know how to fight. Because of this." Hazama then opens his hand, and there's a green flash as a sigil manifests. A long green chain whirls out, the end topped by a serpentine head. It feels dark and twisted; a Nox Nyctores. If Clio is familiar with the legendary weapons, it's assuredly the Ouroboros. Unlike most of the weapons, it operates much like a grimoire, bonding with the user and brought into being as required. "But that can hardly be called a sin. Within intelligence, there's countless reasons to hide one's true strength. Mr. Heidern caught me tracking his movements, and when I was not forthright with his questions, attempted to kill me. Colonel Relius Clover came and recovered me. This is all confidential information, so I trust you'll not reveal it unduly. A few of us wield these weapons outside Jin Kisaragi. Mentally, I've been shown to be incredibly compatible..." A finger lifts to press against Hazama's lips at that. "Beyond that... I'm afraid that's above your pay grade. Still, I'm willing to answer any question you might have. If you find yourself unwilling to accept my presence in the Librarium, I will formally approve your withdrawal. You can return to a civilian life, once more... Simple as that. You've done nothing wrong. There's nothing traitorous about suspecting the morality of a commanding officer, is there...?"

[CLIO]
The chain. It gets a flat look from Clio. Observing it, considering it. She knows things, she isn't one asleep at the wheel and there has been more than a little information spread about that she can pick up on. But this proves how much of what she's done is a run around. Wasting time and effort. "Of course," Clio says, chains clinking. Her own have readopted their violet glow. "As much as I appreciate the candor, it leaves me curious." She turns to side sideways on the branch. "How would you define a monster?" she asks him.

[TERUMI]
"A monster...? What an interesting question. A monster is a beast who lives only for despair. That defines their life through the murder, suffering, and agony of others. Something without redemption. Something that needs to be destroyed. That is your definition as well, is it not? You joined NOL to hunt down such creatures yourself. And the Librarium remains an exceptional tool for that goal." A hand lazily adjusts the tie dangling from his neck. "The chain man was me, of course. When I saved Second Lieutenant Vermillion, he attempted to strike me down. Noel lost consciousness. Without her bearing witness, I wielded my Ouroboros and through great effort drove him away. The investigation was a formality. In the records, I'm not a combative individual. So people were only intended to hunt a phantom. It seems to have caused unwanted suspicion, however... you and Tsubaki both seem to have come to some unhealthy conclusions about me. You should talk to First Lieutenant Tsubaki; I went over this with her, and she understands the situation as well. Because she trusts the Imperator. I don't believe you do... Ms. St. Jeanne... you have your own brand of justice, do you not...? What is it about me that has you so on edge? Is it the unpleasantness that someone like me must exist in an organization as bright and pure as Novus Orbis Librarium, or...?"

[CLIO]
Clio smiles at the definition. "No. It's a good one, don't get me wrong," she says, leg kicking lazily in the air before she hups herself up onto the branch again. "But it's not my definition of a monster." She clinks the chains together and walks along the branch, stopping to crouch and leap to another, spinning up onto it after swinging back around.

"Noel's my friend, a very good one. She's sweet and pure and innocent. And however or whatever happened, she survived." She looks at the wielder of Ouroboros and actually smiles. "Thank you."

For a moment, Clio twirls the spike of her chain in her hand. "I think I like this part of you," she says, nodding to herself. "I do have some information I'll let you know. It might be something you could use, and it's something I don't mind you having." She looks down at Hazama and scratches her neck with the spike, getting around her oversized collar. "Would you like to know?" she tapdances around the Intelligence officer's questions. She finds him asking more of her to be an interesting shift in the state of things.

[TERUMI]
"Oh? Well, what do you think a monster is, Second Lieutenant? I believe by most traditional accounts in the Librarium's literature, my definition was fairly accurate." Hazama scratches beneath his chin, giving a sort of casual shrug at that. "But yes. Ms. Vermillion is alive because of me. I never lie. It's something I take pride in, and a moral I never lost joining Intelligence." His own ouroboros has been dismissed, both hands now resting in his pockets. "Oh? Well, if you have relevant informaton, I'm currently operating as the Colonel for Intelligence affairs, by decree of the Imperator. If you feel it's important to give to me directly, then by all means. Otherwise, there's many proper channels you can go through. I merely wished to come here to speak with you personally. Your marks in the academy were quite good... the Imperator would be unhappy to lose such a talented officer over a simple misunderstanding."

[CLIO]
"Now who's being flattering?" Clio asks Hazama. She can't exactly dismiss her chain, so it stays, and it clinks a steady rhythm. She looks out to the horizon where the sun has long ceased to shine, up to the brightness in the sky at the far water's edge. She smiles and, for all this, feels entirely at peace in the night.

"There is more than one Bloodedge out there," Clio says. "At the very least, you have people using the name." She looks back toward Hazama again. "And, don't think it's just edgy kids being cool with names. I'm talking people that hit like trucks and can heal themselves." She looks back out at the horizon. "And if this one has some fans that can pull that sort of stuff off," she trails off and sits on the branch, leg dangling, "Maybe that's something that should be looked into by our Intelligence division. The one with the colonel who can take on a Bloodedge and walk away unscathed."

[TERUMI]
That's one thing the pair likely have in common. Enjoying the night. Hazama has always been someone who enjoyed the darkness. It's comforting, in a way. But her comment causes him to pause, wrinkling up his nose. "More than... one Bloodedge?" This appears genuinely confusing, as Hazama scratches behind the back of his head. "I'm not sure I understand. I only know of Ragna. Although I was hardly unscathed, thank you. I can say with certainty I almost died. Still, there's at least two others I believe capable of possibly beating Ragna the Bloodedge. The Black Knight, Kagura. He is aggravatingly humble, but I'd certainly never wish to fight him. Jin Kisaragi, although young, also might manage. Yet... are you saying there's one outside Ragna...?"

[CLIO]
Clio pulls her leg up and rests her unchained arm on her raised knee. She looks back when Hazama starts to pepper her speech with pauses. That he's on his back foot makes the woman in the tree smile to herself. "Yep, unless I fought the original and walked away unscathed," she says. "And, let's be honest, I'm good, but not that good."

She twists in the tree to better look at Hazama and his questioning ways. Her legs kick in the air. She's thrown something down that apparently the chain man can't ignore. It's a powerful feeling to have. "Moved like lightning. Hit me hard enough with a half ass punch I still have the bruise." She pats her stomach. "But he was too young and his lips were all pursed up like that picture. Also had brown hair. But called himself Bloodedge, and I'm not too familiar with people that spontaneously regenerate like that. So, he's using the name for some reason, and he can do that." She shrugs a bit. "Can you afford to have little disciples of Bloodedge around? I'm not sure about that."

[TERUMI]
"A brown-haired... Bloodedge?" Regenerating is not unusual, but only for those with an Azure Grimoire. Even the normally fatal wounds of cursed weapons will recover from it. Hazama, with his entire body being one, is especially vigorous. He would have been torn to shreds fighting both Heidern and Ragna if not for his unique physiology. But there's no third Azure Grimoire out there. ...He's almost certain. "That's very interesting, indeed." Hazama finally agrees. "I was not aware of that. Anyway... I suppose I've said what I meant to. If you decide you'd like to leave, then place the paperwork on my desk. Think it over carefully, Ms. St. Jeanne. In the very near future, the Librarium will expand far and wide. This conflict is all but over. You do not have to agree with my methods. But if you must consider me something, then consider me the shadow cast by the light of the Librarium." Hazama then takes off his hat, and places it over his chest. There's a strange sense of energy from him in the motion, slightly different than the Ouroboros. "Dispatched in Mankind's darkest hour... We are the Knights of the Blue Flame." He plops the hat back on his head, and the odd sense vanishes. "This has been our mantra for ten years. And finally, it will be true. We will sit on the sidelines no longer, to protect this world by any means neccesary..." With a bit of a flourishing bow, Hazama then turns to begin marching away, hands returning to his pockets as he crunches through the leaves and sticks, no longer attempting any form of stealth.

[CLIO]
Clio St. Jeanne nods, watching Hazama have to process the information that she gave him. She turns and looks back to the stars in the night sky. "Dispatched in Mankind's darkest hour, We are the Knights of the Blue Flame," she speaks along with him. Her chains burn at the words, though with a violet energy that seems to not actually burn the arm of the woman the metal wraps around. She keeps her attention on the night sky. "There's a lot of things a flame in the darkness can mean," she says, letting the words hang.

She listens to the crunching leaves and sticks as they fade off. She has her night, she has her thoughts, and she smiles to herself. For now she feels decidedly resolute.

Log created on 23:52:05 12/26/2017 by Terumi, and last modified on 11:06:09 12/28/2017.