(2016-12-18) Gym Jam
Gym Jam
Summary: Six characters in search of a workout…
Date: 2016-12-18
Related: None
NPCs: {$npc}
Scene Runner: NA

     While he finds the dome kind of horrifying, what with all the water it's holding up, it's preferable to the obscenely cold weather outside.  So Taka's taking his aerial workout indoors, weaving in and out of the climbing ropes before alighting on one.  He lets go and plummets, pulling up just before the gym floor, soaring up to just under the peak of the dome…
     …and that is the precise moment a perfectly harmless basking shark glides by from out of the watery gloom.  That it is a plankton feeder and not a man (or birdman) eater, and that it is safely outside the dome, and that it has no interest whatsoever in him, is not of relevance to Taka.  It is Too Much Fish, and it is Much Too Close.  And it is a pointed reminder of all the water the dome is under.
     So Taka does the only sensible thing he can under that kind of provocation: he squawks out a startled "Kya!" and drops hastily to the floor, watching the water long after the innocent fish has disappeared back into the depths, wings spread, feathers fuffed out anxiously, and breathing harder than he'd like to admit to.

     Tabitha comes out of the locker room just in time to miss the reason why Taka is squatting on the floor looking like a startled cat.  She's been in there a while debating with herself about issues of personal appearance and fake versus genuine.  Then decided the debate was stupid and she should just go do her damned workout.  So coming out into the gym she has no blindfold, no glyphs, and no scars.  She does have hair and eyes.  Her team Athena red-trimmed white leotard is her only attire and she's carrying a six-pack of water bottles filled with a gritty brackish liquid.  She pauses near Taka on her way towards the weights and follows his eyes up towards the dome, "What's got you all poofy?"

     Speaking of poofy.  Having just come in from playing in the cold because well, it feels nice out there, Wojtek's massive form is on all fours as he pads along, the ushanka on his head set just so as he carries his backpack and rifle and trundles along the gym towards the strength area.  Glancing towards the woman, the bear tilts his head and sniffs at her.  "You smell like Tabitha.  You not look like her," he says, and then glances up to sniff again and then at the bird person.  "Who you?" he asks the bird person as he rumbles slightly, the large bear's fur standing on end as he moves in a more protective stance of the young woman.

     Taka is far too rattled for English.  "Ash tak-tai?"  He points at the top of the dome, and the essentially empty water beyond.  "Tav qet takh'ik!"  He turns around, and upon realizing it's a familiar voice, his social instincts take over.  "Kie, Tábi.  H'takh—"
     And that's all the further he gets when he notices the great shaggy form moving in protectively.  Half a step backwards, trips over his own feet, and lands ungracefully on his backside.  "c'Rhys'yw!"

     "I am Tabitha.  Just did a makeover on myself."  Her voice is a bit distracted as she assured Wojtek of her identity, then looks from Taka to the dome and back again as she seems to have no troubles understanding him.  "Ah, I see.  Not a fan of having the ocean on top of you while inside a building?"  Her voice has taken on a somewhat different quality than usual.  The result of this is that anyone hearing her voice doesn't necessarily hear it in the English she's speaking but instead in their native or most comfortable language.  "There are ways of making it less of a problem.  You could darken the dome or close the shell."
     And then the bird and the bear are both looking at each other and wondering who or what the other one is.  So she lets out a sigh and does introductions.  "Wojtek, best bear of the Soviet Union, meet Taka, birdman from outer space.  Taka, meet Wojtek."

     There's a little growl of frustration, especially as Tabitha introduces Taka as an alien.  The large bear moves a little more protectively of Tabitha, especially since they just rescued her from something that could be considered aliens as the large creature and rumbles.  «Not here for you?» he asks Tabitha to make sure it's safe as he remains in that defensive posture.

     Taka's eyes widen further at the growl, and he scoots back a little.  Somehow, he gathers his wits enough to drop his native language, although his English is more halting and accented than usual.  "Came here for exercise," he explains.  "There was… nnh."  He frunts in frustration, actually having to stop and think what the word is.  "There was large fish.  Very large fish.  Close to dome.  Was not expecting, startled, reminded me of what is outside dome."
     He slowly gets to his feet, and dusts off his kilt and shirt, and takes a few calming breaths.  "Apology," he says, sounding a little calmer, but not much.  He stretches his wings, shakes them out, and somehow manages to fold them, the feathers smoothing.  "I do not make a good first impression.  Kie, Foy-tekh," he says, bowing slightly, stumbling over the unfamiliar name.  He does not yet approach.  "Did not know dome could be darkened," he adds, just a little grumpily.

     Tabitha sets a gentle hand on Wojtek's shoulder, giving in to the urge to give him a scratch soon after.  "No, he's not here for me.  He's a student in team Metis."  She listens to Taka's explanation, then leaves the group to go over to the wall near the entrance.  She opens up a recessed panel and turns a dial.  The dome glass darkens as she does, the insulating gasses between its layers changing polarity to hide the ocean from view.  When she's on her way back, she nods upwards at it.  "Yep.  This place has a lot of little quirks like that.  Just have to remember that it is designed with defense and containment in mind, so it can take a pounding."  Her hand returns to its place on Wojtek's shoulder when she gets close enough.

     With Tabitha's touch, the large bear seems to settle.  After all, he's still a boy and cute girl touch makes him calm, and the scritch causes him to rumble in appreciation.  As she wanders off, his head lulls back around to the bird thing and he growls softly.  «You try to kidnap her, I make Chicken Kiev,» he warns none too gently, returning to lazy bear mode when Tabitha starts to petting again.

     Taka says, staring, "I have no reason to kidnap her."  Mercifully, he has no idea what chicken Kiev is.
     Then he exhales, relaxing.  The gym is large enough that opacifying the dome doesn't make him feel enclosed, a concern that struck him only when Tabitha reached for the controls.  He bows to her in gratitude.  "Thank you."  His voice sounds a lot more normal, and his accent has faded a bit.  "That is a great improvement.  I wish blocking off the window in the dorms did not make it feel so enclosed so I could do that there."  He peers up at the featureless, but still preferable, darkness.  "I wonder if that could be made to look like the night sky.  Or even the daytime sky."

     Tabitha doesn't comment on the kidnapping thing.  It's the polite thing to not remind people just how far her senses extend, given how many here have some rather… extreme privacy concerns.  She returns the bow from Taka, her own voice fading back into normalcy.  She shrugs at Taka's question about the dome roof.  "I don't know.  I haven't found anywhere except my birthplace that had active sense overlay tech or anything similar.  Bound to be someone here that could make something like that, though.  Maybe Kerry or Minerva."  She gives Wojtek's shoulder a last scratch and squeeze then continues to wander towards the weights area.  "Time to get in today's workout."

     «Had workout, maybe you can train with bird.  Perhaps swift.  Faster than bear,» Wojtek comments as the large creature seems to be aggressively lazy when it comes to not wanting to do much.  He's a giant bear after all, what all can he do?

     Taka genuinely hopes he's faster than Wojtek, considering the implied (well, maybe not just implied) threat.  Still, this is a fellow student.  He should make nice.  He takes two wary steps toward the bear, like he's ready to kick into the air at the slightest movement.  "I promise you I am not interested in stealing Tabi," he says, quite earnestly.  He bows again, and kicks lightly into the air, weaving in and out of the climbing ropes as he was before.

     Tabitha rolls her eyes (or rather the illusory ones she's wearing make the motion) at Wojtek's overprotectiveness.  It's sweet and she likes it.  Doesn't mean she can't see the humor.  "I'm guessing you're plenty fast, Wojtek.  I've heard the stories."  She doesn't say what stories it is she's heard, of course.  That would make the game too easy.  As Taka takes back to the air she reaches the weights area and starts to set up with dumbells in the fifteen ton range to do some light warmups.

     Taka catches the last rope, near the top, and clings there with one hand and both feet.  "Tabi, what is tchi-ken kyef?  Or will I be happier not knowing?"  He lets go, and spirals gracefully down to the floor, then shoots back up to the top of the dome again, having gotten low enough that his wingtips might have actually brushed the floor.  "And why would he think I want to kidnap you?"

     "Greetings and Salutations," Keith's voice calls out as he enters the gym, duffel bag slung over his shoulder.  Clad in a set of dull grey sweats, the Cheshire cat stops for a second to take stock of the area.
     "Huh, I thought there was supposed to be this great ocean view in here, what happened?"
     He spots Taka and… the bear.
     "A cat, a bird and a bear walk into a gym," he mutters under his breath as he approaches the group, and stops to look at Tabitha for a second.  For a moment he's about to ask a really stupid question, though it would have been funny in his mind, but he stops and instead waves to her, not wishing to interrupt her set with the titanic weights."
     As Taka descends, he gives him a sly grin and says, "Hey there, Tweety."

     Tabitha laughs once she's pieced together what Taka said through his accent.  "You'd be happier not knowing, although if you're a carnivore it's quite delicious."  Wait, didn't she say something about not knowing?  She shrugs between reps at the other question, "Wojtek is a very protective bear.  He's Promethean, after all.  And I was kidnapped and taken to space not too long ago."  When Keith enters she gives him a quick wave between reps, the weights she's using not seeming to hinder her movements at all, then gestures to the roof.  "Taka got spooked by a minnow, so I tinted the dome for him."

     Taka turns, dipping one wing so that it looks like he's pivoting on the wing tip in mid air, then plunges downward, executing a tight turn around Keith and shooting back up into the air, then down again, landing just behind the cat.  "Kie, Keit'h!"
     He looks over towards Tabitha.  "Is that the kind of fish that was?  It was a very large minnow…"

     Keith ducks instinctively when Taka swoops, coming up reluctantly and trying to piece his dignity back together.  He turns around to face Taka, pretending he totally did not duck, and reaches out to muss his hair.  "Showoff.  So you got scared by a fish?  I thought birds were supposed to eat fish!  Then again, cats are supposed to hunt birds, so…" he raises an eyebrow and chuckles, then turns around to face Tabitha.
     "That was a nice thing you did, there."  He sets the duffel bag down, "You guys doing just regular workouts or is there something special going on?"

     Tabitha shrugs as she continues to do various arm lifts to limber up.  "Nothing special.  School's out of session, so it's just whatever those of us who stick around want to do to keep in shape and not bored."  When Taka asks if the fish he saw was a minnow, she shrugs again.  "I didn't see the one that spooked you, but I doubt it was a minnow.  Those are about the size of your fingers."  She's grinning as she says this.  "At least I hope it wasn't something that small that spooked you."  She swaps weights for more reps, doubling up to thirty tons and still not looking as if she notices it much.

     "That was a fish large enough to eat me!"  Which explanation should answer them both, really.  Taka grins, and returns the hair-mussing with an ear scritching.  "The only way to make flying look effortless is to put the effort into making it look that way.  And that particular turn is an important qihar skill.  I can come out of it in any direction I like, it is not predictable, and that is the difference between keeping and losing your flags."

     "Aw, you don't need to worry about fish eating you when I'm around."  Keith pauses, and hmmms, "Sushi.  Yes.  We've gotta take you out for sushi."  He begins to go through his stretches, "So we're all staying here over the holidays, then?  My old man isn't really comfortable with me being back, so maybe we should all do something for it.  And give our avian friend a taste of some of the more popular of earth's holidays.  What do you think, Tab?"

     "Could be a thing to do.  Although I'm just here for another week or so before I leave on a sort of research trip."  Tabitha uses the larger weights as props in some stretches as she talks.  "I know I'll be cooking up another big meal for Christmas like I did for Thanksgiving, but not much else."  She listens to Taka's comments about flags and asks, "Flags you wear or flags you protect?"

     "Apology, qihar is a game from home," Taka says by way of brief explanation.  "You wear two long flags from your belt.  The idea of the game is to grab the flags of the other team, and not let your own be taken."
     He eyes Keith a little nervously.  "This is not like the last holiday, centered around eating a large bird, is it?"

     "You're thinking Thanksgiving, Tak.  This one revolves around delicious food and lots of hot chocolate."  Keith says the magic words with a slow grin.
     And then Lady Gaga starts singing.  Out of Keith's pants.
     ~I'm a bad kid and this is my life…~
     "Crap, that's my old ma-"
     He pauses.  "How on earth am I getting reception down here?"  The song's still going on.  He fishes the phone out of his pants and frowns, as it stops right at that instant.  "Signal gone.  That makes no sense.  Maybe the phone's malfunctioning after that last update."
     He gives his classmates a shrug and points over his shoulder with his thumb towards the exit, "I'm going to go up and see if I got an email from him or something."
     He waves and grabs his duffel back as he heads out.  "I'll try to be back soon.  If not, I'll see you guys soon.  We'll talk about the get-together."

     "This one is mainly about gift exchanges, although it's a whole kludge of human traditions tossed into a big pot and stirred."  Tabitha is over at the weights area doing a light workout with thirty ton dumbells while chatting with the others.  She's wearing an illusion of her pre-space torture appearance and is wearing her Athena team leotard, white with red trim.  When Keith's phone rings and he seems confused, she makes a gesture with her chin towards the walls, "Whole place is lined with signal repeaters and the like.  Should get full bars no matter who your carrier is."
     She nods to Taka as he describes the flags game, "Sounds like fun.  I think it'd be a lot more fun than stupid arena fetch, to be certain."  No, she does not have a high opinion of the game, why do you ask?

     Taka waves to Keith as he leaves, watching him go.  "Really?  I thought arena fetch sounded interesting.  I want to at least try it.  But if we can get enough fliers together, I will be happy to teach qihar.  I do not know how to handicap it for those who fly unusually fast or slow, but I think something can be done.  Do you think there will be interest?"

     It seems that even demons trapped in the forms of teenagers need exercise too.  Hence why Ryuunosuke has shown up.  And thanks to the Metis-team branded tank top and shorts, his tattoos are on full display.  They're black, seeming to almost swallow up the light around them, and are pretty much on every inch of exposed skin except his head and face.  He pauses as he hears conversation, and his tongue flicks out briefly, as if 'sniffing' the air.  He makes his way over to Tabitha and Taka, and bows in greeting.  "Hello," he offers to them both.

     "Yeah, I think there could be some interest."  Tabitha shrugs about arena fetch.  "I'm not a big fan of fetch because the faculty treat it like it should be everyone's favorite fetish and because it's pointless for anyone who doesn't have some form of flight, teleportation, or some way of not dying when a hundred meter cube is turned on its side and they end up falling.  Basically, it's a horribly designed game stolen from a decades old science fiction book."
     Yeah, Tabitha has some opinions about the subject of Arena Fetch.  She pauses her rant when Ryuu enters, waving to him briefly while still holding her thirty ton weight.  "Hello."  Then she nods back to Taka, "But yes, what sounds like an aerial blend of keep-away and tag is something I think would interest others."

     "I think I would still like to try it," Taka says with a shrug, and spirals down towards Ryuunosuke.  He loops widely around him, calling out, "Kie, Ryuu!" and makes for the climbing ropes again, weaving in and out of them in a complicated slalom.  "I should offer some suggestions," he muses, "on a proper aerial workout course…"

     Ryuunosuke raises an eyebrow at the comment he catches the tail end of.  "Ah.  So I was right in not attempting to join Arena Fetch," he decides.  "What would happen if this body died?  What would happen to what's inside it?  Such a shame…"  That is a mean little smirk.  However, he notes the greetings and nods.  "Tasshya degozaru-ka?"  That, by the way, in case Tabitha can understand it, is an archaic way of asking after one's health — he's basically asked 'how art thou?'

     Tabitha chuckles at the complaint about the course, "That's not the flier's obstacle course, Taka.  That's just the climbing ropes.  The obstacle course takes some time to set up, but it's a lot more dynamic and exciting.  Loops, narrows, active attack chokepoints, the works.  It's fun."  She puts her weights away and instead of picking up new ones just sort of idles at the edge of the floor.  "I set one up in the woods outside of Shady Cove that was meant to be more lethal, but it's too cold out there for that sort of thing."  She smiles to Ryuu's question and nods, "My health is as good as can be expected today, thanks for asking."

     "I am not sure about the 'attack chokepoints'," Taka says dubiously, catching one of the ropes and using his momentum to swing 'round ninety degrees and then letting go, "but the rest of it sounds perfect.  And if the cold were not enough to keep me away from your personal course — and it is," he continues, "the 'lethal' will be."

     "That is good to hear," Ryuunosuke says, to the words of Tabitha's good health.  Though her mention of an obstacle course gets a thoughtful sound.  "Actually that's not a bad idea.  Have you seen it?  'Sasuke'?  I heard it was aired in the United States.  Aa, mou… what do they call it?  'Ninja Warrior'?  Why not something like that?"  He pauses, watches Taka fly around as if he belonged in the air.  Which, of course, he does!  That's when he notices the dome.  It's… well, he can't see out it!  He pauses.  Blinks.  "…That is not supposed to be like that, is it?" he asks.

     Tabitha shrugs, "I've always been at my best when the challenge has a chance of killing me.  Guess it's just how I was raised."  She nods at the reference Ryuu makes, "Yes, it's a popular show here.  And the school has obstacle courses like that, several of them.  Geared to different types of powers."  She grins wickedly, "Which is good, since even without my powers, the ANW courses would pose zero challenge to me."  She flexes and poses, "Superior physical design!"  Says the four-foot-nothing half-pint.

     Taka perches on a ledge somewhere above Tabitha.  "That is a little more of a challenge thank I need, Tabi.  I will settle for just a good workout and stretch."  Speaking of, he spreads his wings, shakes them out, and dives off into a glide, towards Ryuu.  "The dome?  Yes, Tabi blanked it for me.  I did not know that could be done.  I find the view of the water disturbing.  And there was the…"  He glances back toward Tabitha.  "What did you call it?  Minnow?"

     Ryuunosuke nods.  "What is the phrase?  'Different strokes for different folks'?" he asks to confirm.  He chuckles at the 'superior physical design' comment.  "I can believe this," he states.  "Smaller does not necessarily mean weaker.  It would have been difficult for me to have come here if I had the form of a hundred years ago."  He's… kinda that old.  Sorta.  In a roundabout way.  Taka's glide towards him prompts him to step out of the way, just in case.  Though he gives an upwards nod of his head at the explanation from Taka about the dome.  "Aa."  A simple response.  "Are you uncomfortable under water?"

     "Yeah, I called it a minnow.  But that was just because I didn't actually see what kind of fish it was that spooked you and I was making a small joke."  Tabitha nods to Ryuu's comment about fitting inside in his old form.  "That is true."  She does a few idle stretches, more in a manner of not wanting to keep still than any real efforts to continue her workout.  "I just wish we had a swimming pool.  The ocean around here is too cold to swim in for almost the whole year and yet it's the only option we have."  She shakes her head, "Sometimes I wonder just how low of a bid it was that got the lowest bidder the job to build this place."

     "It is not," Taka says primly, "a place to be.  It has a sense of space, though, so it is usually better than a blank wall.  This area is large enough that I do not mind the dome being darkened.  Although I still think it would look better with a sky scene than just darkened."
     He pulls up into a hover, and blinks at Tabitha.  "Oh.  I wish I knew how to tell when someone is joking.  Without the mental contact I am used to, I can not."  He doesn't sound angry, or hurt.  "Maybe if you are not being serious," he adds with a grin, "you could wave your hands?"

     Ryuunosuke chuckles at the mention of the 'small fish' joke.  "Wait until he sees a great white shark.  Perhaps it will think he's a tasty little feathered morsel.  Or perhaps a whale."  Smirk.  Yes, he's kind of being a dick at the moment.  As Tabitha stretches, he steps back, to allow her more room.  Also so he doesn't get hit.  Taka's issue about not being able to tell when someone's kidding gets a smirk.  "There is… a tone in someone's voice when they are making a joke or teasing you," he replies.  "Facial expressions, tone of voice, that sort of thing."

     Tabitha's own expression and tone go from animated to blank and deadpan, "Unless that person is a psychopath.  Then you can never tell."  She holds this sort of Wednesday Addams pose for about twenty seconds, then flashes a HUGE Broadway smile and raises her hands to shake them about, "Jazz hands!"  Then she shrugs and pulls her legs up off the floor to fold them up into lotus position.  The rest of her doesn't move so now she's floating in place with her hair falling a bit past her butt.  "But really, it's just a matter of experience.  You'll figure it out before long."

     Taka breaks out laughing at 'jazz hands'.  "I probably will," he says.  "It is just so confusing.  It will not be forever.  I hope."  He glances up at the still-darkened dome.  "Though I think I will never understand why your people build in such strange places.  What is wrong with a cliff face?"

     "Aaaand that's a conversation I don't ever want to have again with my father."  Keith walks back into the gym, smirking.  "Sorry about that, guys.  Turns out my father did leave me a VM after all."  He puts his duffel bag down again, and stretches.  "…and we have more people.  We could turn this into a workout party."

     Tabitha smirks at Taka's question, "Not nearly enough cliffs on this planet to house eight billion souls.  And humans mostly just build cities in mostly flat places.  This school being under water is NOT their normal method."  She shrugs and looks around the dome briefly, "I'm a fan of this sort of thing, but then again I was raised inside a volcano.  So there's that."  She looks over as Keith returns, giving him a wave.  "Welcome back.  What'd the old man have to say?"

     Seth drops into the room from a shadow overhead, stretching from the top of the room down to the floor tail-first and slowly letting himself slink down into a coil.  This is the large economy-size Seth, although he contracts in on himself to a less titanoboaesque size … he's wearing a tee-shirt with four arms (to let his own four arms out) and that's it.  He looks over to Keith.
     "Bad conversation with father.  Is he giving you advice on sexual techniques?"

     Ryuunosuke raises an eyebrow at Tabitha's sudden deadpan, and then huffs a quiet laugh at the 'jazz hands'.  He also pauses a bit, to stare at Tabitha doing her floating thing.  That's unusual.  But he hasn't gotten used to the school yet, either, or what kinds of weirdness he might find here.  He does, however, nod to her statement.  And he agrees with Taka.  "Eventually, yes.  When you learn more of this culture, it will come more naturally."  Keith returns, and Seth appears, and Ryuunosuke moves off to another area, to do… well, it looks sort of like a dance, but it might be a kata.  Who knows.

     Taka dives down — not so quickly as last time, he did notice that duck and cover — to greet Keith again, and veers off to loop around Seth with a cheery "Kie!"  The swoop brings him around towards Tabitha again.  "And it occurs to me, Terrans can not fly.  Building high is probably not a good idea here."  He's a little bothered that she doesn't wave her hands after saying she was raised in a volcano…

     "Two snakes, a bird, a cat… I saw a bear early…" Keith muses, and then looks at Tabitha.  "Does this make you Dorothy in this little compact Oz?" he winks.
     And then he withers when Seth speaks.  "Please, Seth.  Do not mention my father and sex in the same sentence.  No, he was asking for an accounting of my expenses.  I told him that if he insists on me staying here during Christmas, then that I was going to damned well give myself a present."  He smirks and puts his hands on his hips.  "I see Taka is busy Air-robics.  What's everybody else doing?"

     Tabitha nods and gestures vaguely towards the entrance, "Yeah, best bear wandered off to find a nap."  When asked what she's doing, she looks down then back up and shrugs, "Just sort of floatin'.  And coming up with ways to make Taka wonder if I'm joking or not."  She shifts her glances up to the birdman and calls up, "For the record, I was not joking about the volcano thing."  Seth's dropping from the shadows doesn't get her to jump at all, so she must have gotten herself chilled down into some kind of zen state.  "I've got most of my presents bought.  Just have to make sure they get to their people before said people vanish for the holiday."

     Seth, being at school, has learned to keep his Second Sight bound (and gagged) so that he won't be sent into near-oracular fits and spasms when he runs into certain students.  This is partly Tabitha's fault, as she is Weird with a capital ird, though she's also fairly nice despite that.  Still.  It keeps him from seeing Ryuunosuke and spazzing about — which in his naga form would involve snake-knots and flailing — so it's pretty good.  He grins at Tabitha though, because she's always good for making other people think he's much less disturbing.
     He whispers, "Your parents had sex to make you," and it echoes around in the shadows in the room a little bit.  Then he starts … dancing?  Coiling?  It's some sort of dance.  Or kata.  It seems great minds think alike; it looks like it might be related to whatever Ryuu is doing.  And, once the echoey shadows stop, he says, "Hello roommate.  I don't know yet what my plans are over the holidays except that I'll be out on Christmas itself, and possibly the day after Boxing day."

     "Practice," Ryuunosuke replies to Keith's question, without missing a step.  His voice is quiet, smooth, and thickly accented.  It also has a serpentine-sounding lisp.  Likely due to the forked tongue that one might be able to see flicking from his lips every once in a while.  And he also speaks in a sort of rhythm, probably one he's keeping in his head to regulate his moves, as he says the next.  "I would be doing so much better if I had my fan, but that idiot priestess took that from me too.  She thought I might use it to harm others."  Harm others with a fan?  How paranoid is this priestess?  The echoes of the shadows, though, make him pause, and he looks at Seth with the brow raised over one blood-red serpent's eye.

     Taka perches at the top of one of the climbing walls — probably cheating to fly to the top of it, but hey — and just regards the collection of students with a bemused look.  "You know, if I ever get back home, no one will ever believe me about what this world are like.  Even with seeing the truth of it in my mind.  Maybe I should stay here for my own good…"

     Keith stares at Seth, and then at Ryuunosuke.  Suddenly he gets flashbacks to watching the Jungle Book and being mesmerized by Kaa.  Something about sneks… "Right, you probably shouldn't go back home.  We have better food here, after all…"
     "You were raised in a volcano?" Keith asks, his interest piqued.  "What… what was that like?  I mean… that's pretty amazing…"

     Seth realizes that the Tabitha voice is coming from a girl who is inconsistent with Tabitha's usual bald, scarred, occasionally huge energy-surges appearance.  But the bit of aura that gets through his cranked-down sight is Tabitha.  Pondering this ALMOST makes him stop and flub his movements, but he has iron!  discipline, and doesn't.  (Seriously.  IRON.  OK, maybe it's aluminum.)
     Anyway, curiosity wins, and he pulls a completely shadow guitar from a dark spot between him and the brightest nearby light, and begins playing music — except that it's the illusion of music to accompany his mnemonic-trigger which he sings quietly.  Which is wrong.  The song he's using isn't intended by the universe to be sung quietly: "Is this the real life?/Is this just fantasy?/Caught in a blindside,/No good gauge fir reality./Open your eyes,/filter the lies and seeeeeee," and there's a quick flicker of shadow that washes over him, but everyone should expect that by now.
     "Oh.  Oh, that's really weird what you're doing there, Tabitha.  It IS Tabitha, right?"
     Seth has still managed not to look at Ryuu, which would (with his sight now engaged, even at partial strength) also cause the flailings.

     To Seth's sight, it's certainly Tabitha.  Just with a tissue thin layer where her aura is twisted into a kind of fabric around her body just barely an electron's width on top of her skin.  This is where the altered apperance rests.  Oh, and the pressure buildup inside of her has grown stronger and is continuing to erode her from the inside.  But outwardly she just floats a couple feet over the floor with her feet tucked up in lotus position and her illusion hair falling a bit past her butt.
     She shrugs when asked about the volcano.  "It was just home.  Big caverns, lots of warmth, and a lot of training to take over the world."  She sighs wistfully and glances up towards the dome and the winter beyond it.  "I do miss the warmth sometimes."

     Ryuunosuke smirks at Taka's words.  "Yes.  You're clearly mad.  Stay with us here, with the mad ones of this earth, and be free in your madness."  Pause, snicker.  "Or… I'm fairly certain I'm expected to say something like that."  Demons are tempters, aren't they?  Speaking of tempting… Keith's stare gets a smirk.  And he's sure to add a little bit more sway in his next step.  Helloooo there~.  Tabitha's description of the volcano gets a wistful sigh from Ryuunosuke too.  "Yes, I understand that.  It's far too cold here.  Why couldn't they have found a nice tropical caldera to build this school in, anyway?"

     Taka dives down and alights behind Keith.  "c'Rhys'yw, yes, the cold.  I come from a warm part of my world.  I can only assume that this part of Earth is not in the warm part.  If the whole planet is like this, I will find my way home, whether or not they think I am insane."

     Keith smirks and turns around, "Just you wait 'til the summer, you'll be melting then.  Until then," the cat pauses, "…we'll find ways to keep you warm.  There's such things as electric blankets, and there is a very powerful holy shroud one wears called The Snuggie, whose virtue is to keep you warm and comfortable.  We wear it in the memory of the Great Hunter, who died of cold so that we may have his skin to keep us warm through the darkest part of the year."
     Clearly Keith wants to join the contest with Tabitha to see what he can get poor Taka to believe.
     "We can get one at the store next time we go topside.  Though we'll have to cut holes for your wings."
     He looks at Ryuunosuke's dancing and gets a quirky smirk.  "I thought this was the gym, not the ballroom?"

     "Tabitha?  Were you aware that you're eroding?" Seth says, a bit concerned.  After all, last time he talked with her, the shielding stopping her power from getting out and very suddenly getting all over everyone in the next best thing to a BOOM, was noticeably thicker.  "Are you still pumping in energy?"
     He swings around in his dance and sees Orochi, uh, Ryuu.  What.  The.  Mumm-Ra.
     Seth pulls on a few shadows to bring them closer to himself.
     "You're a new guy, right?" he says to Ryuu, letting his dance shift into the 'silent movement that is unseen' … which looks a lot like hitting the pause button on the snake-dance.
     "It's a dance floor AND a dessert topping," he says in an aside to Keith, because he can't help it.

     Tabitha blinks slowly and rotates in midair so she's facing Seth more directly.  "I'm what, now?  Eroding?  I know that a lot of my insides were removed and thrown into space a month or so ago, but I was not aware of any erosion going on, no."  While her voice is calm and her appearance remains the same thanks to the illusion, those with mental senses might pick up on a spike of concern that comes from her.  She lowers her legs so she is standing on the floor again and shrugs, "And I'm just taking in the normal amount of energy I need to sustain my daily needs."

     "This part of the world has a summer, but it is short," Ryuunosuke offers to Taka.  "It is warmer the closer one gets to the equator, and at lower elevations."  Smirk.  "Perhaps you should migrate south for the winter?  Birds of this world do that when the cold season comes."  He sends a look at Keith.  "There's no other place to practice," he notes, finally pausing.  "There is plenty of room here, I didn't see the harm."  He's paused by the time Seth slithers over (is that the appropriate verb for Seth's means of locomotion?), so there's not danger of the two colliding.  That would be embarrassing.  He nods to Seth's question.  "Relatively so, yes.  Hajimemashite."  He seems to pause, and shakes his head.  "Apologies.  My command of English is not overly good yet.  It is good to meet you."  Tabitha's words get a blink, and Ryuu pauses to look in her direction.  He hasn't been trying to look past anything, but has been pretty much handling things as they happened.  So he gave it no second thoughts, assuming she could merely change.  He looks between Seth and Tabitha a few times in question, but he doesn't say anything just yet.  His forked tongue does flicker out a few times, though.

     Fortunately for whatever remains of Taka's grasp on sanity, he already knows that Keith is a Deeply Silly Person, and Not To Be Taken Seriously.  "Rrrrrright."  However, Keith is also Bringer Of Chocolate, so this can be easily forgiven.
     "Going south is probably not an option for me," Taka explains to Ryuu.  "I have nowhere else to be but here."

     "My dad does have that house in Florida…" Keith mentions, "We could all go for a weekend at some point.  'Cause, y'know, I can open holes in reality and all."
     He gives Ryu a grin, "I was just teasing, it's a thing I do…." He trails off and looks at Tabitha.  "…will you be okay?"

     There's a language spoken by the shadow-serpents of Sombralia which corresponds to English, and Seth speaks it.  He will speak it to Ryuu… another time.  Because at the moment, he's realized that Tabitha did not necessarily "get" what was going on when he talked to her about excess energy.  But then again he did not really have time to go into the details.  This time, he concentrates, focuses, pulls up the memory, visualizes it with great fidelity, and then puts the current view next to it in a comparison.  He draws in Shadow and creates a … nauseating blob of shadow that melts through his fingers.  His second sight is glitching badly and he has a sudden lancing headache as though his brain had literally cramped up like a hypothetical congressional swimmer who just ate a State dinner then tried to swim the icy Potomac.
     "AGH.  ICE METAPHOR BRAIN FREEZE HEADACHE!" Seth gasps, and the extra shadows dissipate.

     Tabitha has let the discussion about warmer climes slip past her awareness.  What Seth is asking her about is of serious concern, so he's got her attention.  When he doubles over in pain she reaches over towards him, a bit of foerest green luminescence slipping out through her illusion around her hands.  She pulls back when she realizes that it's unlikely her healing abilities would work on someone who isn't humanoid in some major way.  "What were you trying to do there?"

     Ryuunosuke nods to Taka's words.  "It is the same for me.  I could only go back to Japan, and I have no family.  The Boy's father was killed, and his mother died when he was young.  I have only the priestess, and the temple is… an uncomfortable place for me."  Keith's mention of Florida gets a smile.  "I would appreciate that, even just for a few hours," he says.  But he keeps his response on that short, because there seems to be something wrong with Tabitha.  And then with Seth.  He's nearer Seth, so a couple of shadowy serpents appear, and make as though to assist him in steadying himself.  "Seth?  Shinpai gomuyou?"  Yes, he lost hold of his English.  But he's asking if Seth is all right.  He's just using an archaic dialect to do it.  He looks to Tabitha at the green energy and blinks.  But he's waiting to know what's going on too.

     "If it is warm there, we should go," Taka says, putting a hand on Keith's shoulder, but being careful to keep his mind to himself.
     Then he leans around the cat, and peers at his roommate.  "Set'h?"  He has no medical training, so he knows better than to get in the way, but he does approach, concerned.

     Keith pats Taka's hand and frowns.  He begins to concentrate, so he doesn't get close to Seth.  He's getting ready to open a Rabbit Hole to the medical wing, just in case it's one of those emergencies.  He foregoes saying something in favor of focusing and getting ready.  Just in case.

     "Ow.  I was trying to make an illusion that I could use to share my sense-memory of the previous time we talked, and this one, so you could compare, but it got away from me and I got feedback and now I think I sprained my imagination."
     He tries to pull in his Sight again… "I close my eyes only for a moment then the moment's gone…" and the familiar/unfamiliar sensation of a different kind of shadow-serpent touching him fizzes against his skin.
     His eyes open wider, and he says, "I'll be OK, thanks.  I shut off the sense that was most overloaded."
     He tries to think about how to express it to Tabitha.  "You had … thicker walls … in your energy containment before.  It was cracking all over because of pressure.  It's still under pressure, and it doesn't look safe.  But I can't show you."
     Showing is better than telling.  Seth hears that in all his English Writing classes.

     The glow fades from underneath Tabitha's worn illusion and she shakes her head, "Well I'll just have to add that to the list of questions I'll be looking into on my research trip next week.  In the mean time, I'll try to avoid… eroding any further if I can."  At this she shrugs and decides that it might be time to head off to some other activity.  She turns towards the exit and with a wave over her shoulder flies off.

     Seth moans and shifts down into his human form and looks at the door.
     "I think I will do a trip to the med-bay.  I may sleep there tonight."

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