Description: The weather outside is frightful, but Miko's rather insightful. And since she's got nowhere else to go, time to stalk cheerleaders at Taiyo. (NOTE: This scene takes place a few days after 'Turnabout Intruder')
The Taiyo's Jaguar versus the Gedo's Badger. It's on!!
Despite the cold weather outside, some sports were still going on : Basketball was one of them. It was a rough struggle between the two schools who shared the usual competitive animosity toward each other, especially after Taiyo High had stolen the badger mascot from Gedo High.
In order to practice themselves for the real out-door match, the cheerleaders are here to pump up the crowd and cheer for the local team. The girls are glad in red and yellow colors and they're performing their choreography, louds cheers, hands in the air -- some tumble and acrobatics here and there -- they throw people in the air.
This role has been given to Ashley : while she lacks the proper cheerleading attitude, her athletic feats and prowess definately made her stand out. A little, almost inivisible helping hand with her wind chi allowing her to perform stunts the other girls could hardly dream of achieving as easily as Ashley did.
One, two, three... They throw her in the air, so high it seems almost impossible! She flips around and twists in the air and lands almost too gracefully before being caught by the girls who threw her in the air.
Miko Kobayashi is a pretty notable presence upon Gedo High. But she's made an explicit point of being completely -ordinary- in her appearance, such that she is basically just another face in the crowd as soon as she sheds her Gedo High uniforms. After one brief encounter with a Taiyo student along the way to the game, Miko's apparently changed allegiances from Gedo to Taiyo. (The poor student will be -so- confused when she wakes up wearing Gedo colors.)
So, Unnamed Taiyo Student #48 has no trouble entering the gymnasium on the Taiyo side of things. She'd shown up early, smoothing the slightly-oversized seifuku uniform across her hips, managing to be somewhat discreet in the process. And she'd happened to score a sweet seat... just behind the seats reserved for the cheerleaders to sit down when they rest.
The blonde with the quirky blue and green highlights hair isn't hard to spot, notes Miko to herself. She'd heard rumor. She'd seen pictures. And she knows, for a fact, that this is the same person who'd electrocuted her in a blind alleyway.
And, like Ashley, she's not even bothered to change her hair for this particular rendezvous. She's just watching the game -- or so it seems.
If and when Ashley happens to sit down, she might feel a little prickle along the back of her neck. A telltale sign that someone is watching her from the seat above. And that someone, Miko, would smile and twiddle her fingers in a little wave.
She wasn't here for the basketball game.
Few of her targets managed to escape Eve's methodical hunts -- when she was in school, Eve was not Eve. She was Ashley. While there might not have much difference between the two, she attempts to keep it that way not to betray her real identity.
The blonde girl's focus is solely on her cheerleading prowess for the time being and she hardly notices anyone specific in the crowd. Through the whole game, even with Honoka's proximity, the girl doesn't seem to notice her presence. Not once did her gaze cross Honoka's own.
At least until she finally sits down on the bench to let the game carry on. She drinks some water and Ashley shivers suddenly. A strange impression gave her those goosebumps and Ashley glances over her shoulder instinctively, glancing up. She's about to turn her attention back to the game until she actually spots someone in the crowd.
Her eyes widen though when she spots Miko smiling at her and Ashley averts her gaze, a soft blush covering her cheek as she slumps her shoulder a bit. One of the cheerleader beside her glance in the crowd and back to Ashley, resting her hand on her back, rubbing it, "You okay, Ashley?" She asks.
The flustered girl shakes her head, "No, I... Huh, yeah.. It's okay, I just need to get a bit of fresh air..." She says. The girl excuses herself, and she rises up, averting her gaze from the other girls as she makes her way out of the basketball court, toward one of the hall that leads outside.
The two cheerleaders that were beside Ashley looks at each other, confused, and they shrug at each other.
Unnamed Taiyo Student #48 -seemed- to be enjoying the game, but if anyone were to ask her how the team was doing, the details would be a blur. The entire time Ashley was flipping about through her routine, Miko was prodding. Sensing. Determining how this young woman could parlay her second personality without betraying the first.
But Miko can read the signs. Aloofness. Insecurity. Good foils for a cheerleader, good explanations to suddenly need some air to breathe -- despite being what could be considered the lynchpin for some dramatic cheers.
The signs are well-known to the full-time performer, where a poorly-located bruise or bone fracture could be critical to not only her own well-being, but that of the circus itself. In that measure, Miko grants some empathy towards the blonde cheerleader.
Unnamed Taiyo Student #48 came here alone. She's got no one to apologize to when she stands, and egresses down to the exit door. She's cautious to give her prey a few seconds' lead time, so that it certainly doesn't -look- like she's stalking.
But let people draw what conclusions they may, "... Hey. Ashley, wait up..." she calls out in a sing-song voice. "I'm... sorry, I don't think we really got to finish chatting last time... is everything all right?"
Her expression is a smile. Not an overly large smile, but a clear mask, just the same. ... Besides, it's hard to take someone at face value when they're walking the same direction you are.
Anyone else, though, they'd likely just see two Taiyo students talking, completely missing the dark overtones that Ashley and Unnamed Taiyo Student #48 would rightly understand.
Ashley didn't need to go outside in the cold for some fresh air -- just away from the crowd. The air was cooler... Less heavy. Without the crowd, it certainly helped. It was just to give her a moment to shake off that dreadful feeling she has, allowing her to regain her bearing.
Ashley leans up against the wall and heaves a soft sigh, closing her eyes and tilting her head back. It's a melodical voice that stirs her up from her reverie and Ashley straightens herself up away from the wall and she glances up in the Taiyo's student direction.
Her eyes widen a moment, but Ashley averts her gaze in a meek manner. She lifts her arm up to rub her other arm gently, "Hum, huh... What conversation? I... Huh, don't think we know each other, do we? I'm sorry..."
The girl's totally unaware of Honoka's mental probing, her mind totally susceptible and vulnerable to Honoka's psychic powers. A last call of innocence, even if Ashley knows full well this girl knows who she is. Last time she got confronted about it though, it worked... But will it work again with this girl? Maybe if she keeps not looking at her!
Unnamed Taiyo Student #48 smiles, sweeps back a few hairs that escaped the done-up hair bun. "She tilts her head to the side, peering close to Ashley. And she takes up a position beside Ashley, the outer boundary of personal space, as she rests one hand on the wall.
Miko likely weighs about the same as Ashley, so any physical intimidation from her close proximity is sheerly due to the 12cm height advantage. And her confident swagger, of course. "You've forgotten so soon? I never forget anyone who's... inspired such... -feelings- in me, Ashley."
That sly smile stays fixed upon her face. "... Listen, I understand -all- about facades, Ashley. Your secret is safe with me, rest assured!"
Her expression hardens, that smile fading somewhat. "But I really have to question whether you even have a clue of the grand... overarching scheme you're working towards. Have you given it any thought?"
That sweet smile returns -- a fraction of what it was just a moment ago. She knows something -- not enough to form a grand picture, but something. But even if Ashley doesn't give a verbal answer, the plethora of subtle, subconscious reactions will be telling to the psion.
When the other girl approaches her, Ashely curls up a bit defensively. Incomfortably. She spares a nervous glance in her direction, obviously uneasy with the proximity, a soft, barely audible whimper escaping her throat, a silent complaint.
This cheerleader certainly seemed to lack the self-confidence or had been broken in by the others into a docile follower. When the Taiyo student mentions her secret, Ashley bites her lips and risks a glance in her direction, "What do you want from me?" She asks with that same meek intonation.
Her expression hardens for a moment, dropping the facade for a second as she glares back at Honoka. How dare she question her like that! She retorts vigorously, the sort of snap back you wouldn't expect from Ashley moments ago, "You wouldn't understand,"
It was an easy reply. How could Honoka understand, even if she tried to explain to her? The question echoes in her mind though, trying to find a justification. Can she really claim to understand the doings of NESTs much more than Honoka does? She wonders...
Much as Honoka's expression shifts back, so does Ashley's one, her eyes turning away, a blush spreading on her cheeks. A mixture both of her social inaptitude, but also that she might lack that in depth understanding.
"I... Think I should return to the bench before the girl comes looking for me," She murmurs softly, an attempt to leave.
"Ashley, Ashley..." she coos, pink creeping across her cheeks, and a reassuring smile upon her lips as she encounters the meek Taiyo cheerleader.
And then that smile hardens, as the snappy retort comes afterwards. She wouldn't understand, no. But she can sense the resistance to explain, the fierce loyalty engendered by the fiesty little girl trapped inside a meek outer shell. Ashley's spoken of it.
A hand reaches to Ashley's shoulder. Not a firm one -- just a light touch. Daigo must be rubbing off on her. "Listen. I came as a friend, Ashley." She doesn't move her head much, instead just following Ashley with her eyes, as she remains fixed with her hand against the wall. The intent of her posture is clear: Ashley is free to go if she chooses.
"I'm just concerned that you might be working yourself too hard. Is it... tough, working for him, like that? Does he ask too much of you?"
Miko has only the briefest idea of the power structure of NESTS. But in lieu of a direct contact, she's paying close attention to -exactly- how Ashley responds.
The hand makes Ashley jerks up a bit with surprise, though it has a strange, soothing effect on her. She lowers her gaze and stays still, listening carefully to the pink haired girl.
Ashley could go -- she doesn't feel trapped physically, nor is the touch preventing her from anything. Though her meek nature makes her stand still for now, as if it wasn't polite to leave in those circumstances.
She doesn't argue this time, she lets her words sink into her mind, pondering on them. It is true that she worked hard -- she's been very active, lately and it did earn her the chance to be praised by Him, not just anybody. She had managed to get his attention, and the feeling of bliss his touch had given her, the way he alleviated her pain and suffering that particular moment.
Was it too much? She had never questioned herself about that. It was natural, what she had to do, right? It was her purpose, though it did feel lonely, in a way. Most girls' lives were so different than that.
She doesn't reply, but her silence is more eloquent than any words she could have said. Her head tilts away a bit, in contemplation.
Though she's certainly not going to open herself up to this girl. Ashley shakes her head after a moment of silence and she lifts her hand up to brush the hand off her shoulder, "No," She replies simply, before she turns on her heels to walk away.
Her intonation lacked the conviction and resolve that made her give a vehement reply to Honoka before.
Ashley's response is not terribly unusual, no. But her thoughts betray her, the blissful memory, the notion of praise -- all very juicy things for an empathic person like Honoka to pick up on. And that happened to be the exact piece of information Honoka had been after -- is this a cruel man who rules with an iron fist, or a kind friendly sort who showers boons upon his favored ones?
Perhaps this Principal Brown is both, and perhaps neither. But to Ashley -- to Eve -- it's clear what face he presents to her.
The unnamed Taiyo student allows her hand to be brushed aside. She does not pursue, simply rests the hand upon her hip.
"Stay in touch, Ashley. And please... just be careful, hmm? A big storm's about to blow in."
As Ashley's athletic shoes echo down the hallway, the unnamed Taiyo student's heels click as she walks in the opposite direction. In a voice no louder than a mumble, she chuckles darkly to herself...
"I feel sorry for the people outside in those pavilions."
The blonde girl glances over her shoulder at Honoka. She seems blissfully unaware of what she means, but she replies with a soft, "Huh, okay.. I will," She says, before turning her eyes back and walking away.
The girl was obviously shaken by her encounter with this girl... And the other cheerleaders will obviously see it. Though they'll do everything to make her regain her focus -- they were about to do the second rounds of acrobatics and they needed all of Ashley's focus! It wasn't the time for her to screw up and hurt everyone...
Still her movements would be less fluid and more hesitant in that last part of the game.
Miko leaves Ashley to her own devices, no longer showing any interest at all in the basketball game. It's rather late for a Taiyo student to be walking through campus unattended, with her mind clearly musing about other possibilities.
NESTS seems to have gotten its tendrils deep into the school campuses, and Miko wonders just how far they can go. There's a lot of work to do, and not quite enough time to do it, she muses aloud.
Another brief exchange later, Miko's on her way back to Gedo, leaving only a -very- confused Taiyo student in her wake, wondering how she came to have taken a nap in the shadow of a classroom building.
Log created on 12:30:34 02/08/2015 by Honoka, and last modified on 16:13:26 02/08/2015.