|Return of the Queen|
Fukuoka is a pleasant crescent-shaped street that runs alongside the school, and is rarely referred to by its proper name. Frequent foot traffic is broken here and there by gaggles of students during the day, and a large parking lot squats opposite the Academy entrance. From the early evening, this place is almost eerily quiet.
Brooding on rooftops. It's a thing. Well, maybe Jack's not brooding. He's perched on the roof of the academy, looking out over the city. So he could just be admiring the view. Such as it is. Mabase City, it's an interesting place...
Nora marches along Fukuoka Court South looking for the last thing she clearly remembers - the wall she smacked into. "My kingdom for a clue!!" For whatever reason she's keeping her arms and legs straight as she strides on, looking for all it's worth like a robot. She pauses in front of the wall, drops down to a more casual stance and sighs.
From the north, however, comes a rather exhausted looking young blonde man. "Need... non-Mexican... food..." Seriously, working for Juan of Juan's tacos can be absolutely exhausting. The man is far, far too much into luchador wrestling. His eyes are largely forward and to the south, keeping his feet on track for getting himself to his intended goal: The Usual Restaurant! ...This is the primary reason he hasn't noticed the orange-haired robotic marcher.
Jack Hawksmoor has, on the other hand, noticed Nora. His lips quirk in amusement, and then he jumps off the roof. His jacket blows out behind him as he drops rapidly to the street...and lands as light as a cat on his feet.
Nora doesn't even look up as her teammate runs by offering a casual, "Hey, Juane," as he goes. No, she's much too focused right now not even noticing Jack's silent entrance. She pokes at the wall with a finger, tracing the crack made by her head that night. "...now why would I have been falling sideways?" Yes. That's the question. Obviously she was falling sideways. How else would she have hit a wall at that speed?
Jaune walks right on by with a just as casual, but still more tired sounding, "Hey Nora." He makes it a good ten feet down the road past this when he suddenly, with far more energy then he had just a moment ago, backtracks his steps to where he passed her. "Nora?!"
Jack Hawksmoor frowns at the crack. He walks over to it and puts a hand on the wall. "Maybe somebody threw you?" he suggests. His eyes flicker red as he studies the wall. Jaune? Sorry, he's being mostly ignored. In favor of a wall.
Looking up at Jack, the girl smiles, "Oh hey! If it isn't my mighty general! How goes our armies? I've been trying to recruit people but no one seems to care about overthrowing the current regime." Her eyes turn back towards the crack and she rests a palm against it. This orange haired girl is far too busy to deal with Jaune right now and promptly dismisses him with a wave of her hand, "Shhhh. We're having a very important discussion here." She puts her free hand to her chest, "I'm trying to solve a mystery that has plagued this land for untold days." She finally glances at him, "Our very LIVES may be at stake here, Jaune."
Jaune takes a few moments to respond. "General? Armies? Overthrowing regimes? Nora, what /Happened/? I haven't seen you in years and..." And he's shushed. "Our lives?"
Jack Hawksmoor shakes his head. "Just go along with it. And ah, it's from *that*." He starts to run his hand along the crack, eyes flickering red, but otherwise ignoring the conversation between Nora and Jaune. OR he's paying a lot more attention than it seems...
Nora proudly poses with her hands on her hips, "YES, I, YOUR MIGHTY FUTURE QUEEN OF TWISTED have to solve this mystery..." She hunches over slightly and gestures spookily with her fingers, "....of the missing memory!" Crossing her arms she lets out a sigh, "Yes. It should have been from that. Something caused me to fall against it very hard. Clearly someone was trying to assassinate me, knowing my importance and high standing." She unfolds one arm and punches her palm with the other. "IF WE CAN FIND THE CULPRIT they MIGHT know what my true name is, allowing me to reclaim my rightful birthright!" She pauses, tilting her head to the side to consider that. "...rightful... birth right.." That doesn't sound right. "Right." Whatever.
Jaune just looks... utterly confused. "Missing memory? High standing, what are you talking about Nora?" He glances around, then asks, "Is Ren here too?" A reasonable question. Ren and Nora are inseperable. Then suddenly everything clicks into place. "...Oh. That's where your head hit after you came into Twisted, isn't it?"
"Yeah. Probably because she was going fast and suddenly wall. Anyway." He runs his hand over the crack again...and the wall slowly knits together, the crack healing as if it were flesh. Disturbing. "I think her brains got a bit scrambled. Maybe you can help her straighten them out?"
Nora whips around to stare at Jack directly, "WOW!! You just totally healed that wall! OBVIOUSLY you're a magician AND a general! Another upgrade! You are by far the superior choice to lead my armies!" AHAHAHAHA!!! Wait, why am I laughing? Back to Nora she just shakes her head at Jaune, "Poor, confused Juane." She puts a hand on his shoulders reassuringly. "I was once like you. Confused. Lost. Not knowing where I was coming from or where I was going." A few minutes ago? "But then I found my true calling in life and realized I was put on this TwistedMabase Kingdom to lead it's people to a brighter, and better future! A future without pain. Without war. But more importantly, a future where I am Queen." She nods knowingly, stepping away to monologue a little more. "I may not remember my name, or my past, but I know my future! THE KINGDOM OF VALKYRIE SHALL RISE ONCE MORE!!"
Jaune pauses a moment, then says, "...Your name is Nora. I've said it four times now. You came to Beacon from somewhere near Mistral? You were a part of team JNPR?" That's pronounced Juniper. "You know, with Ren, me and... and Phyrra?"
"She doesn't remember," Jack says. "And has got this entire princess thing into her head." He turns away from the now-healed wall.
Nora blinks at Jaune's words. Yep. That all sounds like it checks out. "...oh." She ponders that a moment more. "...um..." Well, now she feels fooli-"WHO'S HUNGRY?! Man, I could go for some pancakes!"
Jaune looks over to Jack and says, "Yeah, I kind of... /eventually/ figured that out. I mean, she didn't have these kinds of... urges when I last saw her." He looks at the wall again, doing a double take. Wasn't that cracked just a moment ago? Okay, yes, he was paying more attention to his friend and teammate when it was healed. "Hey, come on, I'm sure they can make them at the Usual Restaurant. I was about to head there myself..." He pauses, then asides, "I hope they stocked up on syrup..." He's not sure if she's really back to normal now that he said all that, or if she just knows she can trust him. But at least she's acting a bit more like herself now.
"Head injuries can do weird stuff," Jack says. "We can go to the Usual." He's not always comfortable in restaurants, but he can be company. And keep an eye on Nora...
Nora turns back towards the UR and starts marching, making sure not to make direct eye contact with anyone. "S-sure. The Usual." She refuses to blink least her now watering eyes start crying. "That's a plan. Great plan. Let's do this thing." She skips ahead enough that everyone is walking behind her. No one needs to see this.
Jaune nods cautiously at Jack, but really, it's Nora's behaviour that is getting his attention more. Nora? Stuttering? Jaune doesn't think he's ever heard that before. She can talk a thousand words a minute and not trip over a single one. He picks up his pace to catch up to Nora again and asks, "Nora? Are you okay?" Was it the comment on Syrup? No, she'd not act like /this/ about not having enough syrup. No, Jaune now thinks that Nora only half remembers what Jaune told her. If really even that much.
She's not okay. Jack has no idea how to fix that, though. He heals buildings, not people. The citywalker trails after the other two, watching her intently.
It takes her a few feet before Nora stops, wiping her eyes on her arm. "Look. I-I thought I was special, okay? I hit my head and I forgot everything. I forgot you. I forgot my friends. I forgot Ren!" She takes a deep breath. "It was easier to live in a fantasy. I liked being the Queen. It was better than remembering all the bad things." She gestures back towards the wall. "It was like I got a do-over." She punches him lightly in the arm and sighs, "You couldn't have just played along? I coulda used a knight or two to defend the Kingdom."
Jaune walks along in silence for a moment. He takes the hit to the arm without complaint, too. It takes a moment, but he then says, "Well, at least you remembered my name? You noticed me before I noticed you." He pauses a moment, then says, "But... you kind of do get a do-over here. If you really want to... I guess I won't stop you. I'm just... I'm sorry Ren's not here for you to do it with."
Visibly, Jack relaxes. "Good, I don't have to pretend to be a general. I'm much better equipped for...well...tactics involving individuals, not armies."
Jaune says, "I'm... decent? At small group tactics, at least. I've lead a group of four. The two of us and... two others." It's been so long for him. He's ashamed to say it, but he doesn't think about Phyrra all that much anymore. Only a couple of times a day. "OH! Uhhhhh... about two years now? It's kinda hard to tell time in this place, honestly. There's not even really seasons..."
The Usual Restaurant(#1836RV)
You walk into a very large restaurant with high ceilings that leave the rafters exposed. Fluorescent lamps hang from the ceiling, adding light to the floor and tables. Windows adorn the sides of the place, looking out onto the chaos that is Twisted. On some of the walls are paintings, photographs, and holograms of different movies, and a number of people who tend to visit the UR - caught as they're singing karaoke. The hardwood bar rests at the back of the restaurant, surface polished and shiny and all-together spotless (most of the time). Behind the bar are the various beverages that are serveed, and a giant mirror. There seem to be an inordinate amount of different drinks. A large stage rests in one of the corners of the restaurant, with an amazing sound system and a few microphones strung around it. Multiple round wooden tables are in the room, and a swing door leads into the kitchen. Another door leads to the dance club, and another to the gym. And of course, there's an exit. A large fireplace nestles in one of the walls, with a beautiful stone chimney that flows up and out. A long spiral staircase rests near the entrance to the kitchen, leading to a second-floor balcony that overlooks the UR itself. The lights up there are a bit dimmer than those down below.
Rainbow Dash is sitting at the bar with a pile of papers in front of her, and some cider.
Shoving open the door of the UR comes the orange haired Nora, the blonde haired Jaune, and tall dark and broody Jack. Promptly walking into the door, Nora spins around to look at Jaune with disbelief, "Wait, wait. TWO YEARS?!" She rubs her temples, "Are you telling me I forgot TWO YEARS of my life?!" Didn't she have total amnesia? That's more than two years. "You'd think I'd remember you being missing or... I don't know... SOMETHING." She leans against the L-shaped bar and gestures for everyone in her group to lead the way while she considers this more. "...two YEARS?!"
"It's also possible time doesn't go at the same rate here," Jack says, thoughtfully. "I'm not entirely sure what's out there beyond Mabase, but it doesn't seem to be normal space."
Jaune says, "Uhhhh... well, I mean, it was two years... for /me/. Maybe I wasn't gone when you left? I mean... I heard time can be really strange here like that? At least... I mean... Yang was here when I first got here, and she... I mean, she wasn't missing from my time? But there was something that /should/ have been different about her... and it wasn't. And she's not here now. So I don't think it has to line up just right?"
Rainbow Dash glances over her shoulder as the newcomers enter. There's Jack and two more faces she's never seen before.
Nora listens to the two of them seem to trip over their words with a raised eyebrow, "Are you sure -I- was the one who got brain damaged?" Drat. They were supposed to take seats first. Now she has to stand here awkwardly against the bar while her friends block the doorway. She glances around the bar seeing George and... she lets out a giggle, "OH MY GOSH, WHAT IS THAT!?!" She points directly at Rainbow Dash. "It's cute and adorable! I WANT IT!" This is how she says hello.
"Her name is Rainbow Dash, and you can't have her," Jack says, then flickers a grin at Dash. "Watch out, Dash, somebody might be considering petting your ears." The pony IS adorable. But also smart.
Rainbow Dash sweat drops. People in Neo-Tokyo had gotten used to her, but...here she's starting all over. "Yo," she greets, "Yeah Rainbow Dash," she greets "And I'm a Pegasus, and no, ya can't have me."
Jaune says, "Honestly? Not really, no. I sometimes wonder if this is all a hallucination or something. Some strange way of coping with... what happened. But I'm /pretty/ sure everything here is real?" Yes, yes, he moves out of the way and to a table. He then pauses and looks at Rainbow Dash, then back to Nora again. "...See what I mean?"
Nora just... gushes. "You're so adorable I could just DIE. Every part of me wants to brush you and feed you and OH MY GOSH, IMAGINE RIDING INTO BATTLE AGAINST A GROUP OF GRIMM and just raining DEATH AND DESTRUCTION TO ALL WHO STAND IN OUR WAY!!!" She's leapt onto one of the barstools with her fist raised in the air, "AH-HAH-HAH-HAH-HAH-HAH!!!!!!" Does anyone hear thunder crashing in the distance? Far too cutely she drops down from the barstool, holding her skirt down with her hands and then takes a bow, "HI! I'M NORA!" She rights herself and taps her chin with a finger, "Nora. Yeeeeeaaaaaaah, that sounds more like it."
Jack Hawksmoor heads to sit next to Rainbow Dash. He'll protect her from Nora. Right. "I don't think she likes being ridden, either." Piggy back may be a thing...but....
Rainbow Dash says, "Nice ta meetcha, Nora, sounds cool and all, but yeah; riding me is something that's kinda not gonna happen. feed me? maybe," she snerks, "Anyway, I'm way too fast. You'd get blown off or something.""
Jaune winces at Nora's behavior, already very hyper, even a little much for her. And he dreads the moment when she orders 'extra syrup' for her planned pancake meal. Because the world doesn't have enough Syrup for Nora Valkyrie. "I don't think she's quite /big/ enough to be ridden."
The girl inches closer to the table Jaune picked and laughs, "Too fast!? Hahaha! That 'pegasus' hasn't seen me ride Magnhild." Pause. "Ohhhhhhhhhh..." She flops down across from Jaune, "Hey? You think that's how I hit my head against that wall?" Nora frowns ever so briefly realizing Jack's not going to sit with them, but clearly he knows Rainbow Dash so maybe that makes sense. She huffs slightly at Jaune's suggestion. "Are you calling me fat? You think you know a guy you just remembered less than an hour ago..."
It's not like there's that much distance. "As far as I can tell, you hit your head because there wasn't a wall there until you came through the portal," Jack says. "And you were coming in at full speed and just didn't have time to stop."
Rainbow Dash turns on the stool, regarding Jaune who Warner brother effects her ego right then. "Oh, I can carry her...I'm stronger then I look y'know, I can fly over 7,000 miles an hour. I THINK I could manage it."
Nora is SO tempted to challenge Dash now, but instead she stands up, dusts herself off, and looks towards the door with the picture of a lady on it. "I'm sorry, Jaune. I have to go duck into the little Queens chambers." No, we're not letting this joke go this early.
Jack Hawksmoor shakes his head. "Is there going to be a race?" he inquires mildly. "That might be fun to watch." Really, don't *encourage* them. Then Nora slips out.
Rainbow Dash says, "I'd need a real challenge, like that Groundhog guy or that Flash guy."
"I can move pretty quickly, but I know better than to try and race you," Jack says. "I mean, I can either teleport, which is cheating, or get my butt kicked."
Rainbow Dash grins. "I was talking about Pinkie Pie earlier. She doesn't teleport of move fast. But she can still get somewhere before I do.
Nora steps out of the restroom with a contented sigh and strolls back out to the table to find Jaune unconscious with his head curled up on his arms. She shakes her head as she sits down, "Now THIS I remember well." Scooting her chair a little more in Jack and Dash's direction she leans back balancing it on two legs. "So what do you guys do for fun around here?" It's time she starts acclimating.
Rainbow Dash says, "I haven't had time for fun. I've been busting my flanks trying to get back home." She sounds a bit sour here.
"And I've been busting mine, as it were, trying to help get this place a little more...in order." Jack can only do so much, though. "Besides, my idea of fun is, well...it would be like saying flying to somebody who can't fly."
The girl drops the chair back down to the ground proper and shakes her head, "There's not like, any Grimm or anything to fight is there?" She unclips the gun at her side which unfolds itself into a hammer. "'Cause I'm REALLY good at that!"
Rainbow Dash says, "What's a grim?" she blinks, ordering up some more cider and some onion rings."
The question of grimm has to be answered vaguely because for reasons someone isn't quite as knowledgeable as she should be. "Big soulless bone-armor plated monsters." She remembered them well enough when she brought them up to Jack earlier. "Scary things." With a side glance at her friend Nora snaps her fingers, "We were training to defend people from them."
Rainbow Dash says, "Sounds SO cool! Bring 'em on! I need a good fight!"
Surely plenty of other patrons of the Usual come and go in the meanwhile. The door opens and closes each time and the flow of food and drink is continuous. Trading accomplished, bellies full, everybody winds up happy. The next time the door opens to allow somebody inside, however, it's a short fuzzy creature robed in a yellow slightly dirty jumpsuit. Over one shoulder is a cloth bag half full of many irregularly shaped things, the volume of which is easily equal to that of the one carrying it.
Rainbow Dash says, "Hey, Rocket! what's up dude?"
Nora nods her head, "SEE! That's why I suggested us going into battle and slaying them - but noooo. Everyone had to shoot down that idea." Her eyes turn towards the door as another person is addressed, offering the strange person a wave.
Rainbow Dash says, "Hey, I'm all up for battle! I just don't need a rider." Rainbow Dash says, "I'd never hear the end of it."
Nora shrugs her shoulders, "But we'd look so COOL. Lighting crashing! Missiles flying! Everything screaming and roaring!" She puts away her weapon with a sigh. "Missed opportunities."
Rainbow Dash pffts, "Okay, how about I ride YOU then?"
Jack Hawksmoor waves to the entering trash panda. "Hey," he calls. "And if I spot any Grimms, I'll let you know." He probably will, too. Or he'll drop a building on them.
Nora pictures that and shrugs, "We could take turns?" Yes, she's actually considering this now. Jack's promise gets a grin out of her. At least the possibility of fun is better than none to be had at all.
Rainbow Dash titls her head. "Well, at least you're reasonable...."
Nora had a big speech planned up that she was going to ramble away before everyone focused on the short person stealing leftover food. "Y'know, I thought it was like that too when I first got brought here. They'll give you stuff FOR FREE. It's AWESOME."
Rainbow Dash glances to Nora, 'This here's Rocket...we're from the same place. Sorta.
Rocky shrugs a bit a clunks the shell of an old TI-85 graphing calculator onto the table. "Well, I'm mostly preh'y peeved, if I'm being bru'ally honest." He holds a hand up to show thumb and forefinger close together without touching. "I were viiiiis close to buying meself a ship t'get offa v'planet." Suddenly in context with all the junk and the lack of minding eating leftover food, this critter is definitely a scavenger.
Probably a natural one. He looks between pony and raccoon. "Ah, so you're a space alien." Who looks raccoonish. Parallel evolution, then.
"I figured they were some kind of faunus myself." Nora points at Rocket, "Are you both Pegasus?" Her words fall quiet as Rainbow Dash unloads her story. "So this kingdom is some kind of melting pot for lost people, then?
"It's some kind of weird dimensional hole. We all kinda, fell in, I suppose," Jack muses.
Rainbow Dash blinks at Nora. "We're both mammals, that's abouit it," she replies, "How on...we're totally....ah, never mind." She wanders back to her barstool and looks at the mass of papers she's been going over. maps, notes and stuff only she can read. She suddenly just bonks her head onto the bar and drapes her wings over her head.
The raccoon pries off the back cover finally and waves it as much as uses it to point. "She and I came from our own chronospatial nexus. All I can figure is va place finally destabilized. Or rippled, like an image in a pond. A few o'vem 'ad ways 'ome, but linking va two des'inations like vey did was...maybe a bad choice aftuh all."
Jack Hawksmoor shrugs. "I suppose we are, none of us are native, after all." He stands, stretches, shoots Rainbow a sympathetic look and heads for the door. "I got some stuff to do." As a note, he didn't order food...
"When I first wound up in vat uhvuh world, vat Nexus, it was li'erally a falling into. It were strange, too, but I, like most I met vere, felt it must still be possible t'return from where we came, yeah?" Rocket digs about a bit and the sound of plastic chipping and breaking can be heard. "But ven allovis 'appened. Now I'm 'ere. And now...me feory 'as changed."
Between amnesia and just generally not knowing anything about the place, Nora can't really think of anything to say to that. "There has to be some good to all of this, right? I mean so what if we're all taken from our homes and dumped somewhere totally random..." She goes silent. She was trying to go somewhere with this. "Okay, but maybe it's not all bad? We're all here, right? We wouldn't have met otherwise. I'm sure if we get all the facts in order we'd find it's not too bad or that we're too badly stuck. I mean, we have free food and drink. There's a place that gives out free apartments. I've not seen any monsters trying to eat me. These are all good things!" She looks at Jaune and shakes her head, "That said... I really wish he was awake enough to tell me where he's been staying so I could take him home."
Rainbow Dash gahhs!! "It's ALL POINTLESS!" >.< with that, she bolts out of the Usual faster then the eye can follow, just a rainbow trail streaking out the door! Napkins and papers flying in her wake!
The raccoon picks up the small plastic cylinder and gives a little wiggle back and forth for visual effect. It...sloshes? The cylinder has a cap, though, which becomes apparent as the fuzzball twists the top and it comes off. Attached to the bottom of the cap is a plastic extension to goes down into the bottle itself. "'ere, I can show you what I mean, and what I mean to do about it." The cap is pulled away revealing a round hook at the end of the inner extension. Rocket? He blows slowly against it sending a stream of bubbles into the air. "Look at all o'vem universes..." The bubbles suddenly whoosh away as the air pressure changes in the wake of the rainbow. Many pop. Others wildly swirl about before colliding into things and popping. Others, well, they touch.
For the moment, despite stepping all over the table to try tracking the bubble merger, there is a distinct wonder and brightness in Rocket's eyes. "Now, what if we added anuhvuh to it? And anuhvuh still? 'ow many bubbles would it be? 'ow long until va 'ole fing pops?"
Spreading his arms, he says, "You 'ave terrestrial bodies, celes'ial bodies, lots o'radicals floa'ing around in va void o'space, yeah? Lots of nuffing? But vere is a somefing. Space, vacuous and dangerous, is -a fing-." The raccoon hurriedly rushes back across the table and hops down into his seat in order to dig through the bag once more. "Vere are par'icles and a charge. But, beyond va universe, what's between ours and uhvuhs? They can and do bump, touch, just you saw 'ere. But universes don't normally pop. Not if physics seem to work exac'ly va same place to place, like 'ere." He pokes his head up. "What, you leaving already?"