Cherry Blossom Procession 4 2 28

[21:29] * Sept had spent his time in the city meandering around, kicking cans and walking through markets, eyeing shop windows. But he'd reached some kind of conclusion, now.-
[21:31] <Sept> [We need to meet. Alone. Where's good?] read Sera's message to Freya. Still, he took one more walk around the block before checking the reply and returning to the ship.
[21:32] <Minaplo> [The reply was quick in coming: (Deck?)]
[21:36] <Sept> (See you there.)-
[21:38] <Sept> The deck was almost deserted, and still glistening with moisture from the weather anomalies earlier that day. Sera blinked into existence in the air above it and set himself down by a group of beach chairs, brushed off most of the water off one and sat down to wait.
[21:48] <Minaplo> [After about ten minutes, he'd hear her voice. "Hi, Sept."-
[21:48] <Minaplo> [Freya walked over to him and took a seat next to him, shaking the chair off first. She was wearing a pair of long cream trousers, a cream long-sleeved shirt and a sort of woolly green shawl over the top.]
[21:56] <Sept> "Hey," Sera said, giving her a half-smile, and said the words he'd been practicing. "I'll be very direct about this. It's very hard to hear, so I'm sorry. You were right with the part about learning things we didn't want to learn."-
[21:56] <Sept> "It's hard to hear. But it all depends on you."
[22:01] <Minaplo> ["H…uh?" She said blankly, staring at him. After a few seconds she rallied and smiled wryly. "And here I thought you just wanted to look at my handsome face."]
[22:03] <Sept> "But I do," Sera said, seriously.
[22:04] <Minaplo> ["I… Okay." Said Freya gently.]
[22:09] <Sept> "You know that. And not just because I have a nice… future ahead of me because of you. Right?"
[22:12] <Minaplo> ["Haha. Sure, of course I do, Sept."]
[22:15] * Sept nodded, seriously.-
[22:17] <Sept> "There are a handful of souls whose deaths would make it possible to lay a hand on Mary. You're one of them."
[22:18] <Minaplo> [Freya stared at him.-
[22:22] <Minaplo> ["I- is this because I'm her kid?" Said Freya. Her smile was gone. "I don't think you guys have the right idea…"]
[22:25] <Sept> "It's complicated. There's a whole thing. You didn't know." Sera hesitated for a few moments, mouth half-open.
[22:32] <Minaplo> ["I… Apparently don't."]
[22:40] <Sept> "So we need a plan, or we're both dead. I don't know what I can do."
[22:41] <Minaplo> ["Wait, stop. Don't just- okay, why do I need to die to get to my mother?"]
[22:43] <Sept> "Ah, okay. Yes, you- should I start from the beginning?"
[22:43] <Minaplo> ["That's the tradition, honey."]
[22:46] <Sept> "Sorry. I was thinking- no, anyway. So we interviewed de Orleans…"
[22:53] <Minaplo> […-
[22:54] <Minaplo> ["… And I have to die to help bring it all down." Said Freya hollowly.]
[22:56] <Sept> "Th-That's what we think…"
[23:03] <Minaplo> ["And… M-My own mother did this? She turned me into some kind of… Soul jar?"]
[23:11] <Sept> "If… you were already someone she wanted to protect?" Sera said quietly.
[23:13] <Minaplo> ["So what, she already wanted to keep me alive, so she turned me into a soul jar to nurture that little drive of her's? I shouldn't need to be central to her plans to get that from her!"-
[23:14] <Minaplo> [Freya leapt up out of the chair, her hands clenching together furiously. "This… This is just like what a Caine would do. It's exactly the sort of ridiculous conspiracy-theory nonsense that everyone expects of our family. I… Ugh."-
[23:14] <Minaplo> [Freya clapped a hand over her face. "That explains the dreams, then."]
[23:24] <Sept> For a moment, Sera looked embarrassed, but that was quickly taken out of the picture.-
[23:25] <Sept> "You had soul jar dreams and didn't tell me as soon as possible?!"
[23:27] <Minaplo> ["No, I had dreams." Said Freya. "They were just very vivid dreams about people's lives, which is weird, but dreams can be weird! Remember that time a few years back you had a nightmare that you were being eaten by a tiger wearing a plague doctor's mask?"-
[23:28] <Sept> "Yeah, and I told you about it!"
[23:29] <Minaplo> ["Have you tell me every single dream you ever had?!"]
[23:29] <Sept> "…"
[23:29] <Sept> "Fine."
[23:29] <Minaplo> ["Mrg."-
[23:30] <Minaplo> ["Over time I just kinda got used to them. In fact I even found them… Useful." She said, frowning. "I'd go to bed, tossing and turning over some hassle or problem or challenge, and then voila! I'd dream about some random person who had a similar problem, and how they fixed it, and suddenly I knew exactly what to do."-
[23:31] <Minaplo> ["It even bled over into skills." She said, turning to face the view- the sun was visible once again, shining down on Ramiel. "I'd dream about a skill someone had, and then when I woke up, learning it would be easy as piss."-
[23:31] <Minaplo> ["And all that time, I was just… Feeding off of dead people…"]
[23:36] <Sept> "Y-Yanmei feeds off dead people all the time!"
[23:37] <Minaplo> ["What?!"]
[23:40] <Sept> "I mean she takes advice, obviously!"
[23:40] <Minaplo> ["So what, she's a soul jar too?"]
[23:41] <Sept> "N-No, but…"
[23:42] <Minaplo> ["Then what's her situation?"]
[23:48] <Sept> "Well, there's… some ancestors she can talk with."
[23:49] <Minaplo> ["Some… Ancestors?"-
[23:49] <Minaplo> ["… Sept, are you sure she doesn't mean Chinese ancestor worship, honey?" Said Freya kindly.]
[23:50] <Sept> "No! I probably know more than you do about weird soul people, so don't patronize me!"
[23:52] <Minaplo> ["Sorry, sorry, I'm not trying to patronise you," said Freya gently. "I just… Is Yanmei speaking to trapped souls or not?"]
[23:55] <Sept> "No, like-" Sera fidgeted.-
[23:55] <Sept> "Like Napoleon and stuff, a-and I know he's not Chinese but it's a thing please let's not talk about this."
[23:56] <Minaplo> ["… So it's not really the same thing to what I'm doing, is it?"]
[23:58] <Sept> "Isn't it? But look, they're people who aren't alive and you didn't kill them and they- they either want to help or can be useful, and it's not harming them…"
[00:00] <Minaplo> [Freya turned away again. A minute of dead silence later, she turned back around. "Have you ever slept with a girl, Sept?"]
[00:03] <Sept> "No?" Sera asked, caught off guard.
[00:04] <Minaplo> ["Have you ever wanted to?"]
[00:08] <Sept> "W-Well, I. I guess, but it's always been for when I have a normal life…?"
[00:08] <Minaplo> ["With who?"]
[00:10] <Sept> "F-Freya…?"
[00:11] <Minaplo> ["I-"-
[00:11] <Minaplo> ["WE'RE RELATED!"]
[00:13] <Minaplo> [Freya had gone back to staring over the railing; rather she was sagged against it, her head sunk into her arms.-
[00:14] <Minaplo> [After a long, deadly awkward few minutes, she turned back around. "Sept… This isn't just knowledge I'm seeing, okay? These are people's lives. It's not information taken willingly, it's taken by force."-
[00:15] <Minaplo> ["Nothing about their lives is really hidden from me. I can see whatever I want. Who a person slept with, who they hated, their most embarrassing moments… I've already seen a bunch of these because I can't control it."-
[00:16] <Minaplo> ["Sure, if they lived a thousand years ago it wouldn't be a problem, but these are people… A lot of them are during Impact or just before. I-I even recognise some of the people in those dreams, Sept."-
[00:17] <Minaplo> [She stared at him, the colour having drained from her face. Her eyes met his, and she was deadly serious. "Sept, what would Yanmei say if she found out that I'd woken up one day, having just had dreams about her mum and dad? Because I didn't realise it at the time, but that's exactly what happened."-
[00:17] <Minaplo> ["Yanmei's dad is in this- net, Sept! That's not okay!"]
[00:25] * Sept bit his lip and looked back at her.-
[00:26] <Sept> "It isn't. It's not, and… you can't lose hope. Please."
[00:27] <Minaplo> [Freya looked away again, just for a few seconds, staring at Ramiel.-
[00:28] <Minaplo> [Perhaps the sight of the Angel inspired her. Perhaps seeing the Angel, any Angel, holding vigil over a city that had been destroyed ten times over by Angels emboldened her somehow.-
[00:28] <Minaplo> [She turned back toward Sera. "Don't worry. I'm not going to let them just kill me."]
[00:29] <Sept> "That's good!"-
[00:30] <Sept> "S-So how will that work?"
[00:34] <Minaplo> ["I… I don't know." Said Freya. "But I refuse to die over this. I didn't ask to become a Pillar. I didn't ask for these souls- it's… Not fair that I should have to be punished because of someone else's crime."-
[00:35] <Minaplo> ["I know that they need to destroy Pillars to have a chance on her." Said Freya. "And so I know that if I fight this, I might be prolonging the war. And that means more people are going to die."-
[00:39] <Minaplo> ["… That probably makes me selfish." Said Freya. "And anything I say otherwise is going to sound like a lame justification."-
[00:43] <Minaplo> ["… I can't even say that this shouldn't be a numbers game without coming off as a little self-serving." Said Freya; there was an edge to her voice now. "Would the Federation sacrifice a thousand soldiers to save one Eva pilot and their Eva? Absolutely. Ten thousand, a hundred thousand, absolutely. But I'm no Eva pilot. I'm… Worth more to them dead than alive."-
[00:45] <Minaplo> ["Is there anything I can do to change that, Sept? Can I make myself useful to the Federation in a way that outweighs my usefulness as a dead body?"]
[00:56] <Sept> "I…" Sera stared back at her for a few long moments, before laughing pitifully and covering his face with one hand.-
[00:56] <Sept> "I thought you'd know. I don't know, I don't know how we're- how you can do that, but- you have to prove it, or we have no choice. Not unless we find some alternative, but why would we ever spend resources on one?"-
[00:57] <Sept> "You have to help me…"
[01:06] <Minaplo> ["… If I can't help you find a reason, and they come for me, and I ask you for help, will you come, or will you let them do what they want?"]
[01:11] <Sept> "I DON'T KNOW, DO I?!" Sera screamed, suddenly.
[01:12] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[01:13] <Minaplo> [Freya had started quite violently at his outburst, but now she stared at him silently, her expression unusually calm.]
[01:24] <Sept> Sera's breathing eventually slowed down a little as he raised his head to stare back at her. "So, what…? Is this the end?"-
[01:27] <Sept> "Play for time for a couple days, go over forbidden libraries, try to sync with 01, grill Gilles for one of the others… And then we make our choices. You or the world? That's not… right."
[01:31] <Minaplo> ["It doesn't have to be so black and white. Strictly speaking they don't need me to get that edge, I'm just convenient." Said Freya.-
[01:31] <Minaplo> ["I… Don't know if we need any new information. Let's review what we have, and I'll need your help here. Are there any examples of souls being released from the Eternity Drive before?"]
[01:33] <Sept> "O-Okay. Um. They're-" Sera paused for a moment.
[01:34] <Sept> "You'll help me?"
[01:35] <Minaplo> ["Yes, of course." Said Freya. "I don't intend to die here."]
[01:38] <Sept> "R-Right. Of course. You're always…"-
[01:39] <Sept> "Only because she's wanted it, I think. I'll check. Raphael's da- sister… basically…"
[01:47] <Minaplo> ["It's still an example." Said Freya firmly. "It means that releasing souls from the Drive is possible… Are there any examples where souls might be accidentally released? Hypotheticals, even?"]
[01:51] <Sept> "The deaths of the other jars… supposedly?" Sera rubbed his face and patted his hair into shape.-
[01:51] <Sept> "Like a limited domino effect."
[01:52] <Minaplo> ["So the system can be disrupted somehow." Murmured Freya.-
[01:52] <Minaplo> ["…" Freya turned back toward Sera. "Do you know if any of the other Pillars have been able to use the Drive like I have?"]
[01:54] <Sept> "No… De Orleans probably would have noticed. Difficult to say with Evas."
[01:55] <Minaplo> ["We might need to speak to de Orleans, then." Said Freya.-
[01:55] <Minaplo> ["But… But if I can learn from it somehow, maybe I could control it to an extent." She said. "I might even be able to turn it on Mary!"]
[01:56] <Sept> "Heh. Yeah."
[01:58] <Minaplo> ["That… Would make for a good pitch to Yanmei. Plus she's a total softie and adores me so she'll probably fall for it so long as I don't let her learn that I own her dad."-
[01:58] <Minaplo> ["If she doesn't go for it… Then I'm fleeing for Brazil. You and 01 can come with me if you want."]
[01:59] <Sept> "I'll think about it," said Sera quietly.
[21:18] <Minaplo> ["I hope you do."-
[21:20] <Minaplo> [She folded her arms against the railing and stared out.-
[21:22] <Minaplo> ["I wonder if we can find one of the other Pillars."]
[21:31] <Sept> "Freya, please… stop. We can't do any of that yet."
[21:31] <Minaplo> ["Why not?"]
[21:37] <Sept> "There must be a way we can make sure it's… alright, first. Even if Yanmei says it is, if Elisha doesn't agree, or I don't, then I can't follow you. You see?"
[21:47] <Minaplo> ["Wouldn't being able to scout the other Pillars help make it alright?"]
[21:51] <Sept> "Not if it takes a lot of time. And we'd have to kill someone else?"
[21:57] <Minaplo> ["I suppose so. Maybe it'd be okay if it were someone reprehensible, though."]
[22:08] <Sept> "Yeah… I just need to justify it to him, right? We can handle everything else."
[22:25] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, okay. Do you want my help?"]
[22:34] <Sept> "Um. Just remember to ask her about the test synch with 01? That's first, right?"
[22:38] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, I can do that."]
[22:40] <Sept> "Okay," Sera sighed in relief.-
[22:40] <Sept> "Sorry that was so difficult. You were saying- about the other Pillars?"
[22:42] <Minaplo> ["Yeah. I'm wondering if somehow I'd be able to sense them through the Drive…"]
[22:45] <Sept> "Kourosh and Isabelle know about that kind of stuff, maybe."
[22:49] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, I'll go ask them about it after I talk with Yanmei."]
[22:51] <Sept> "Wait, I don't know if Isabelle knows yet. You have to be careful."
[22:57] <Minaplo> ["Careful of what?"]
[23:00] <Sept> "Well, we can't just talk about classified things without permission!"
[23:03] <Minaplo> ["Oh. Okay. Since when?"]
[23:05] <Sept> "Since always!"
[23:10] <Minaplo> ["Oh. Then how come we only obey that rule now?"]
[23:17] <Sept> "Because we can't risk upsetting more people when we need their help!"
[23:18] <Minaplo> ["Ok. That's a good enough reason…"-
[23:18] <Minaplo> ["Do you reckon Isabelle can see the Eternity Drive on me?" She asked, her tone worried.]
[23:27] <Sept> "I doubt it. She can probably tell you're thinking about it."
[23:29] <Minaplo> ["She sure is a marvel, huh?"]
[23:32] <Sept> "Yeah. She's pretty strong. I like her."
[23:36] <Minaplo> ["How do you think she'll respond?"]
[23:39] <Sept> "I think she'd help you, but maybe she's busy now. Worst case, she just ignores you."
[23:39] <Minaplo> ["Hrm."]
[23:51] <Sept> "Do you want me to be there to talk to any of them…?"
[23:51] <Minaplo> ["Sure, if you don't mind." Said Freya, turning to give him a warm smile.]
[23:51] <Sept> "Okay," Sera nodded, still sitting on the edge of the beach chair and looking up at her.-
[23:56] <Sept> "I can't be there for you every time. I have promises that are even more important."
[23:56] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, I know. Same to you."]
[00:03] <Sept> "Of course."-
[00:03] <Sept> "This would be much harder without you."
[00:04] <Minaplo> ["… Yeah?"]
[00:06] <Sept> "Yeah."
[00:11] <Minaplo> ["Well. I'm glad for that at least. Thanks, Sept."]
[00:11] <Sept> "You too!"

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