Healing Light

We can finally see the plight at the beginning of the tunnel.

Plot Room 2


Uta's Fey Mood fueled obsession seems to have gotten worse, of late: chims are ignored, and she has gone from nor talking coherently to not talking at all. She has become increasingly elusive and hard to locate. Nobody seems to have been surprise-injected in the last period.

People who stumble upon it might be relieved to see her traveller's wagon, which is pretty much a large barrel reconverted to work as living quarters and placed on wheels, parked outside an inn. The grunty meant to pull it is parked within its stables, so it can enjoy a meal and warm hay, while Uta, as shown by the silhouette visible through the window, is huddled away in her nomadic quarters. Inns may be affordable, but every saving counts.

As it is to be expected from such accomodations, the place is spartan and optimized: an oil lamp hanging from the ceiling provides light to see by. A table-like surface is lowered from a wall, and held up by a couple of chains. The contents of a portable pharmacy kit are arranged over the surface, with maniacal precision. Uta is still in her strange mood, massive bags under her eyes, all sorts of exhaustion status debuffs piled up like a game of Tetris where nobody has ever seen the long thin piece, her menu-crafted, cookie-cutter nurse's uniform, while spotless, is worn and torn and in tatters (possibly exactly because of the excessive washing and disinfecting), with missing bits of hem and lacking one shoulder completely. One might wonder how it manages to still have any durability left. She is currently pouring some sort of powder and mixing a substance in a jar, eyes transfixed, completely absorbed in assessing the preparation's consistency.

Her door is unlocked, possibly due to her strange mood, possibly due to this being a Root City, hence protected by the Guardians. Which is good -- an unlocked door means that visitors are welcome to just walk in.
Plot Room 2

Uta in a strange mood? Normal. Uta in a fey mood? Less normal. Uta not responding to chims? Concerning. The Silver Sword Artificer puts out an APB to guild members to be on the look out for a Kung Fu nurse. She is armed with medicine and to be considered highly adorable. It doesn't take too long to get a response back that her mobile home is spotted in a root town.

Haru may have had training in his calendar. It may have involved coordinating drills or trying to get the New World Alliance in a state of organization so they are not viewed upon as 'cats in need of herding'. He has shifted his focus onto that over other things as of late. Results? Questionable, but he isn't giving up on it. Not with a war going on. All of those things don't matter when Uta goes cold. What if she was captured by the Palace Landers? What if she forgot to eat and is laying in her home face down immobilized? To say that Haru is worried is an understatement. On his Peko he goes and off to town.

The Enchanter dismounts from his Peko after a long ride, tethering Karen to the stables for feed, drink, and rest. "A breakin?" Haru wonders. The door is left open, it might have been more of a 'walk in'. He walks with caution towards the door, slowly pushing it further open. Is Uta breaking bad and creating 'those' kind of pharmas? He squints. Not dead or captured. For a moment he steps back out of the wagon to go to the inn. Minutes later he has a 'to go' bag of food and a small keg of fruit juice. Haru is not strong, so its like a guy trying to make 'one trip' from the car to the fridge when bringing in groceries.

Haru gracelessly enters the wagon again, waddling to a place nearby to set this down. He opens the bag and gets a small plate of finger food together and pours the grape juice into a cup. "Uta," he says like some fretting mother hen, "take a break. If you collapse over your work it will set you back hours." And hurt you. "At the very least have a snack, you don't need your eyes to eat or drink," he says as he squats down to look at the jar with her.
Plot Room 2

The stirring is over. Up, down, up down. Poke the ointment. The consistency seems to satisfy Uta, judging by the nod she gives. "Perfect," she says, and then proceeds to clean it by spreading it on the side of her left hand. She lets a few seconds pass, without even raising her head, not even deigning the food or drink of a glance, the only sign that she acknowledges anything that has entered the door being a hurried, concerned "I'm almost done! So close! So close!" in Haru's general direction, the sense of urgency permeating each single turn of her voice. "The tests, they are all passing!", she adds, as she pours the powder from a different glass container into a small jar with thick walls. "The experiments, a success! Now these points of data make a beautiful line, and we're out of clinical trial and releasing on time!" As the container gets fuller and fuller, her hands tremle more and more, as if they had trouble keeping it steady. "The side of my hand is numb already! It works, it works! I can't stop now! I cannot!"

As in a strange hourglass, the last speck of powder falls on the mound below, and Uta, struggling to control her movements, has to try three times to even come in the vicinity of the jars in her attempts to plug them with corks. But eventually, it happens, also thanks to the slanting sides of the plugs, which makes inserting them into a larger hole easier.

The second cork is in, and Uta stares, hands still quivering, her breath getting heavier and heavier. When she pulls back, it is to breathe in deeply, one last time, and the Spriggan looks a downright disaster: nurse's cap resting only partway on her disheveled hair, the other end sticking up, two or three buttons are missing from her uniform, and a fourth is hanging by a thread. The slits for her wings show half of her back, and we won't even go into the frays all over. Her white stockings full of holes, with particularly large ones on her heels and toes.
Plot Room 2

Haru leans back against the all of the wagon. He is in zero risk of making anything knock over with his light frame. "This is a triumph, then," he asks the obsessed Spriggan. His blue eye follows along the pharma equipment and can't help but notice how similar the process is to alchemy. He waits. A patient man. Waits. A patient man that moves Uta's nurse's cap in place. Waits. He moves to stand next to her and take her hand to do the last corking to help keep it steady. "Uta, I will shove this cake so far down your throat that you will need an experiment to dislodge it," he says in a stern voice and glinting monocle. He brought with him a variety of brain food high in sweets. Fruit snacks. Breads and pastries. Dried meats and cheeses to balance out the meal.

The man does what he can to fix the tatters of her clothes by shifting them. This is a job for Gwenikins. Its a fashion disaster! A fasionable disaster? The white haired man takes something small, a strawberry, and pops it into Uta's mouth as the deep inhale begins to slow. Its the same way to make sure a toddler won't choke because its too small to do so. "How about you review the current results of your research with me," he asks, feeling that the beast way to wrangle the obsession beast is to give it something to do that won't involve an explosion of poison in the wagon.
Plot Room 2

The strawberry is popped in at right the perfect moment. Brethe. Chomp. Breathe. Chomp. Swallow.

HP boost!

Not by much, but it's a start.

Uta holds her breath, unmoving as her cap is adjusted, and after a few seconds, she exhales.

That exhalation is... something. All the tension, all the obsession, all the single-minded focus is released with that single breath, quiet, yet audible.

She smiles.

"It is done...", she says. "This is, indeed, a triumph."

She still remains there, in the seiza position, kind of limp and wobbly now that whatever was keeping her going seems to have been expelled with that puff of air. "The cake... what cake... I don't believe..." she says, barely able to connect, eyes crossing while her heads bobs left and right. Her eyelids are heavy. "Review... I don't think... I'm so tired...", she barely manages to stutter, looking more and more likely to plop down at every second. "There is..." She squints. "Haru? Is that you? What... what are you doing here?" Silence. "What am -I- doing here?"

Without even waiting for a response, her gaze falls on the table. "Finger food?" She wonders, as if she were noticing the plate for the first time, which she probably is. "That's good, my fingers haven't eaten in ages. I think-"

Her stomach picks right that moment to drop a very obvious auditive prompt that her HP is far too low, and that she has the << Famished >> status debuff in the middle of that jenga tower. "...Man, these things make a lot of noise for being so small!", she frowns, placing the front of a balled fist in contact with one pointy ear.
Plot Room 2

Haru grumps, crossing his arms over his chest. "Has no one been checking in on you these past couple days?" grumpy Artificer grumps. He then realizes something, "Well, you are mobile. I suppose that would make it difficult. I thought at least Fuka would be taking you to the bath houses. I asked her as much..." then it dawns on him that he asked Fuka to do something. A hand runs through his hair at the reliably unreliable Sylph before his other reaches out for a handful of soft, mushy strawberries and promptly stuffs them into Uta's mouth. Fastest way to get liquids and foods in.

"Where you are and why I am here is... surprisingly limited in importance given your state. Focus on recovering your health before you start losing memories," Haru says, creating one of those rotating sushi bars around Uta through use of his four Ioun Stones and a stained glass shell enchantment that keeps them rotating around her. Little plates of food and drink.

He takes a deep breath and exhales, "When you started to stop responding to your chims I started getting pretty worried, you know. It would be easy for someone to just walk in her and abduct you. The Guardians don't respond to /all/ kind of aggressions." Like stuffing your sister's face with fresh fruit. His one blue eye looks at the pharma table, "This is all very important to you, though. And thats why you have people looking out for you, y'know? Kind of like when Shiruba and Kau dropped off food for me and Tian, though... I think it was mostly just to talk to Tian." He takes a cookie for himself, monching. "Pretty awesome crafter, I have to say, just like you and Proph are amazing medical professionals. Which reminds me, I need to chim Proph about cross alliance coordinations..." His own mind tends to wander to his duties as of late. They pile up all too quickly. Some 'escape' this has been. Maybe next isekai he will be sent to a Vacation Simulator.
Plot Room 2

"I don't know... what... what day is it? What happened in the last two days?", asks Uta. She puts a -lot- of effort into listening to Haru, but for the first time in weeks, she just loses focus completely as opposed to returning to obsess over her jars.

"...Ok, I suppose that if where I am and why you are here is not important, neither must be what I've been doing of late. That's cool, it probably means I've had fun. Oh, hey, sushi!", she exclaims, beaming. "Which ones are the cheap ones?", she asks, eyeing the colors of the plates. "This one looks like it," she says, and reaches out to grab a little spherical thing and stuff it in her mouth. And then another. And then another.

She doesn't really seem to get every single detail of what Haru says, but she does get something, "Pffft. Prophylaxis is a luminary in the field, but me? I told you, I'm nothing but a-"

Uta freezes. She stops chewing, she stops talking, her jaw drops, her eyes transfixed ahead of herself as her pupils shrink to tiny dots. She lets out a barely audible, squeaky, wheezy "...aaaaaaaaaaaaaah....", and she stumbles backwards, needing to prop herself up by placing her hands on the floor behind herself.

If earlier her hands were shaking for exhaustion and effort, now her whole body is convulsed in a terrified quiver. Her teeth chatter. She can feel her heart racing, and maybe Haru can hear it too. Her breathing is quick and anxious. "No... nononono... no no no no no no no no....", she says, attempting to scuttle away. "Don't follow me.... don't follow me... go away... GO AWAY!", she shriek, still staring in panic at something unseen, and burying her head between her forearms at the last shriek.
Plot Room 2

Haru sits neatly with his legs folded one over the other. Benefit of dude pants. Denim pants, a blessing from the fashion goddess. He grabs a plate of his own which has a muffin on it. Monch. "What you've been doing," the Artificer chop the air in front of him and rests the whole hand to point at Uta, "/is/ the important thing. You are, or were, working on medicine. Likely part of your pain trials and if I had to guess it is some sort of anethestic." Neither in this life or the last did Haru have much training in medicine or pharmacuticals though. Chop the air again. Chop chop. "Which is why I am here, because you are not taking care of yourself. Heal thyself, healer." Chop. He points to the cheapest 'plate' which is really the denses in calories so Uta can get that hunger bar back.

"Nothing but an ahhhh?" Haru asks with food stuffed in his own mouth. He is generally a very neat and polite eatter, something that would do well in a high scale Victorian household where elegance is paramount to nothing else. Roughly male Wake without the actual etiquette talent. "Ahhhh plus," quirks Haru, giving her an A+.

Slow. Monch.

The white haired young man turns his head over his shoulder. Then he goes over his other shoulder. Finally he looks to Uta. Thats it, it happened. He is too late. Uta broke. "It is just you and me in here," he says, "deep breaths." The Enchanter takes the rotating sushi bar plates away, reclaiming his Ioun Stones. "Deep breaths, try to keep your eyes open," he says as the small golf-ball sized stones begin to circle around Uta instead of Haru. They have a soft glow to them, like they are little fireflies, or warm fireplace coals, or a happy little slime, or even the simple quicksilver rolling in a pleasing pattern. "Halycon Circuit, activate," he pulses in, being true to his role as an Enchanter. It must be how a doctor or nurse feels when working on a patient, only able to monitor the flow and respond with magical medicine. React to it. "Deep breaths, Uta. Only people in her are you and me." And lots of medical equipment. Maybe Uta DID break bad and is on a horribad trip!
Plot Room 2

The stones perform their dance, hypnotic. Sure, it takes Uta a few seconds to actually -look- at them, terrified as she is, she eventually does, and soon the patterns begin to slowly de-escalate her frenzy down from utter panic to mere agitation. "It's a quest window!", Uta exclaims. "It asks me if-" "It wants me to become-" Gasping, broken starts, words cut off, caught in her throat.

Happy little slimes. Happy little lights. Kittens. Puppies. Little farm animals, frolicking. Like that time.

"It's asking me if I wish to begin the road to become a Moonlight Doctor... 10 seconds left... cannot take this quest later if I refuse..."

It is a battle, between the awoken tectonic upheaval within Uta's soul and the soothing currents of the stones. The stones are making inroads, but it's slow, and there's a lot of ebb and flow in the fates of this battle.

"What do I do Haru?", pleads Uta, at last able to raise her head and look straight into Haru's eyes. She's still trembling, her eyes glazing over, with the beginning of tears forming at the corners. "Why this? Why me? I was trying to- I wanted- forget- the past-" Her voice gets quieter, and more and more broken with each word. "never again- think about- move on-"

Stone de-escalation level: semi-coherent discourse, fading out.
Plot Room 2

"Then move on by moving through, Uta," Haru reaches out to give Uta quality head pats. He remembers the time he won in the regionals and a contestant in Angelic Layer did something of this nature. Back then he was a much colder person. It is amazing what a couple years can do for a person. "You can do it. You have the support of all your friends behind you." Tick tock Tick tock. "Don't give yourself the opportunity to regret being the best version of yourself. You can do it, Uta!" Cheer! Both hands, square on the shoulders, "So hit that button like its a EULA for 'Free Slime Delivery, Do you Accept?'" Tick tock. Tick tock. It all comes down to this moment. Right here. Right now! Embrace your destinnnyyyy~
Plot Room 2

Uta stares at Haru. Lips still quivering, breathing irregularly.

Tick, tock, tick, tock.

"Moonlight Doctor"

Tick, tock, tick, tock.The dance of the stones. Soothing.

Tick. Tock.

The vibrant colors of the pop-up interface, "Doctor"

Tick, tock.

Hazy blobs of light, somewhere in the field of vision.




It's hard to see well when your eyes are filled up with some sort of liquid.

Unsure of how to deal with this case of ocular flooding, the solution kind of starts providing itself by means of a sudden flow through the sides of Uta's face. A gulp, a swallow, shutting the eyes to hopefully facilitate the drainage. Jab what, to an external observer, is an unspecified point in the air.


* * *

A brilliant light surrounds Uta, one Haru might have seen on Tian, or perhaps around himself, only to settle shortly after. When it does, Uta teeters in place. Perhaps due to the stones, or perhaps the release of the tension, she is mostly still, a silent sob being the only thing that comes from her every now and then.

It is during one of these sobs that one of her buttons, chipped and hanging in ruins from a thread, pulls hard enough to sever the connection to the main uniform. Its durability having now officially reached zero, the uniform is engulfed by a different kind of glow, shimmering, polychrome, which lingers there for a moment before it explodes into polygonal confetti of light, leaving Uta in whatever she was wearing underneath, which effectively amounts a close-fitting pair of black shorts (always wear them when kung-fu'ing in a skirt!), and a halter top, to accomodate for her wings. It kind of looks like some sort of summertime gym getup, still so decent one could easily wear it out in public and nobody would bat an eye.

Tac. tac. Clatter. The chipped button rolls on teh floor, spins in circles, quickly at first, but then slower and slower, until it teeters and stops.

Silent sob.

Silent sob.
Plot Room 2

Haru knows that leap could not have been easy for Uta. The word Doctor alone, if not for the past attached to it. Haru is there for support in the journey. It is an important step for his sister, even if her nurse outfit did not survive the process. For the Goldsmith the whole thing was different. He graduated in solitude like he had been thrown through a grinder, rounded like a meat paddy and thrown on a grill as a GoldBurger. It is different for everyone. So little he truly understands of this world.

But he does understand Uta. The significance of losing her nurse outfit like shedding her skin. Haru gets closer and wraps his arms around her. "Go ahead," he tells her to lend a shoulder to cry on, literally, "let it out." A breathes deeply as the Ioun Stones swirl around the both of them to help. A mental medicine, but magic can't salve these kind of burns.

"Let me tell you a story," Haru begins. He lacks the ability to sing a soothing song, but words and stories have always been there to help ease the pain. "Once upon a time there was a maiden who lived at the top of a tropical mountain. Unable to get down from the top of the mountain she lived her life there quietly with her mother. She never new sadness or loss in this paradise. She knew joy and sung with the songs of the birds that would fly up to them." A pat along Uta's head, "She knew them all by name and they all knew her. Now, one day this maiden noticed one of her friends was missing. 'Momma momma,' she cried out, 'Fenfen is missing'. Her mother smiled and let her know that it was her time to move on." He grins and bonks the nurse on the head, "'Well I want to see her. If she is down the mountain, I will find a way to go down there!' said the maiden with pure intentions, wishing to return to the days she sung with her friend. Her mother sat her down and said to her, 'Little bird, because she has moved on does not mean you will never see her again. Sing and she will be right there.' And so the maiden sung the song and her birds returned to her, but no Fenfen. The mother encouraged her to sing every day, and promised that FenFen would return." There is a pause in the story. Something to focus on while processing everything that is going on. White noise with a pleasant narrative. "And you know what? One day a little red bird that looked like Fenfen in her early years did show up. The maiden was overjoyed, for no matter the size or shape, her friend had returned to her. She looked to the wise mother and asked how she knew Fenfen would return. The response was simple, 'A child knows its mothers song. It transends all anything and everything. It goes where it belongs and it belongs with you.'"

A deep breath as Haru subtly shares a very particular story in hope it helps his friend, "Uta, you are a healer. To heal? That skill belongs with you."
Plot Room 2

Uta's eyes are getting heavier, and heavier, and heavier.

There seems to be no outright 'crying' out when a shoulder is offered, at least, not the noisy and wailing kind: just silent getting rid of some excess humidity from the lacrimal ducts, with some occasional unobtrusive sobbing which progressively dies out.

As the story is told, Uta keeps her face on Haru's shoulder, except for some occasional looking up and slow, sleepy swiping of her finger. Somewhere in the middle, a menu-crafted pyjama shimmers into existence to cover Uta. It's some sort of unflattering affair, looking a bit oversized by design, but it gets the job done.

The timing is perfect, because somewhat close to the end, Uta seems to have fallen asleep already.

Seems, because she does mumble "To heal...", a few seconds after Haru is done with his story. Probably not asleep, then.

Her voice no longer broken, her eyes just red but not as humid (not that one can see it while her eyelids are closed), she continues to mutter. "The support of all my friends behind me..." Mumble mumble unintelligible mumble "But where's my free slime deliv- oh. Friends." With Herculean effort, she pulls her head up slightly, "...if you get the chance, let Setsuna know," she says, utterly unaware of any of Setsuna and Haru's past interactions.

Hey, at least she just said to 'let him know', not to speak to him directly. Middlemen or anonymous letters are perfectly viable.

And then the Spriggan's head falls down on Haru's shoulder again. And this time she mumbles no more, nor looks up further.