2019-04-22: Happy Birthday, Xiumei!

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  • Log: Happy Birthday, Xiumei!
  • Cast: Kamui, Zhang Xiumei
  • Where: Luca
  • Date: 22nd April 2019
  • Summary: Kamui decides to give Xiumei a birthday cake, but... it turns out to be her birthday!!


<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

A while after Kamui's breakdown, she set off to go find Xiumei. But then she was told, probably by Acacia and Marivel, that it's not enough to just go find her without a plan! So she devised a plan. The most devious masterplan to apologise, and that's why...

Kamui appears before Xiumei as she pops into the hotel rooms ARMS is sharing -- with a paper party hat and a slice of cake on a plate. "Zhang Xiumei? It's Kamui... I came to apologise."

A pause.

"With a second birthday! Congratulations, now today is also a birthday to you. You get twice the gifts and adoration and cake of everyone else. But um, you age twice as fast..."

Kamui seems puzzled by her own logic, like she hit a snag.

"B-but anyway! Here I gooo..."

She sucks in a breath as she lights the candle ontop of the cake.

"Happy birthday Xiumei,
 Happy birthday Xiumei,
 Happy birthday dear Xiumeeei..."

Kamui looks at the cake and a bit of drool comes out of her mouth as she finishes the last line.

"Please share some cake with muiii... yaaay...!"

<Pose Tracker> Zhang Xiumei has posed.

Xiumei, after all was said and done, ended up talking with Eleanor. It took a little while, and they stayed in the room that Xiumei was using. She is currently in the main hotel room -- feet propped up on the sofa, wearing something more casual. Her glasses droop down her nose as she reads a book, green eyes scanning, when--

She hears Kamui and looks up, a little wide-eyed and unsure of exactly how she should handle this. Eleanor said she owed her an apology. She agrees, but--

"K-Kamui?" she asks. "But--I--"

She stammers, and then she falls silent. She watches as Kamui lights up the candles on the cake and tilts her head, looking truly baffled -- maybe a little amused -- and then...

...and then she is the one with a couple of tears in her eyes, but she blinks quickly to hide that she is touched and happy. "How... how did you know? Did Eleanor tell you?"

As proof the cosmos has coincidences, it so happens that Zhang Xiumei was born twenty years ago, on the twenty-second of April.

<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

Kamui blinks a few times and tilts her head, as Xiumei begins crying! Oh no, crying isn't in her playbook as an expected reaction!! "U-uwawaa..."

A pause, as she stammers, "Umm... I didn't know what your birthday was. That's why I claimed you could have a second birthday, for double the benefits. But now that it has coincided with your real birthday...!"

A hesitant pause as she says, "I'll give you another slice of cake... Master will pay for it."

Poor Acacia's Wallet...

She does it down slowly and hands her the cake and plate, with a little dessert fork. It's red velvet cake...!

<Pose Tracker> Zhang Xiumei has posed.

"I-It is all right!" Xiumei says. The waterworks don't really get going; she just wipes at her eyes quickly, and then she sits up straighter, and shakes her head. "Funny coincidences, I suppose...?"

She laughs, a little, about that. She looks down at the cake -- and then takes the first offered slice. There isn't any hesitation. Xiumei takes a bite of it, and then she sighs.

"Is Acacia okay with that?" she asks. "This is really good, though... where did you find it? Or did you make it?"

<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

Kamui bobbles for a moment longer, tilting her head as she thinks about the answer and realises she doesn't know. So she confidently says: "Master is okay with it."

She's going to get whapped with a rolled up Meria Bouletin later. She's still eyeing that cake, though. Hangee...

"There is a shop just down the road that Master found... Master is good at finding back-alley stores outside of the tourist spots," Kamui muses.

"Um... but, I wanted to apologise. I don't know why I started crying, it wasn't your fault. I just felt something really sad..."

<Pose Tracker> Zhang Xiumei has posed.

"Well... that's good." Xiumei smiles, and she uses a spare finger to push her glasses back up by the bridge. "I wouldn't want to take advantage of her. But... I also don't want to turn down cake."

She eats another bite. She blinks, though.

Really, she assumed she did something -- maybe, somehow, she reminded Kamui of Varius. Marivel put that in her mind, and now she can't quite get it out. Xiumei glances down, before a little sih comes out.

"...it's okay. Do I... remind you of someone, maybe?" she asks.

<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

Kamui hasn't quite cottoned on to the presence of Varius, despite Xiumei's transformation -- and even if she did, so much of her memory of him is corrupted and under inaccessible blocks that she probably wouldn't be able to make heads or tails of it.

"Remind me of someone... maybe," Kamui answers.

She lowers her head. "Kamui's memory is bad... lots and lots of memories, are gone," she points to her own head. "I did see something very sad..."

She tilts her head and furrows her brow. "Like I had to fight someone despite not wanting to." The Reploid girl smiles wider to say, "But you weren't in it, so I know it wasn't you!"

<Pose Tracker> Zhang Xiumei has posed.

"Your memories are... gone?" Xiumei asks, quietly. She stares at Kamui, and tries to understand. Marivel told her a little of the Reploid's struggle; a little of how she had difficulty remembering the past. She still doesn't quite understand: that Kamui's memories are corrupted, not merely forgotten.

She looks down, though. Because the bit of what Kamui says resonates. And she hears a murmur, too, in the back of her mind.

That's right... never was strong enough...

Xiumei is quiet for a moment. She looks up, though, and then she smiles. "...Yeah. That wasn't me. I'm sorry I ran off. I just... wasn't sure what to do. I'm kind of... bad at this stuff, sometimes."

<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

"Hehe... yup, a lot of it is gone. Kamui's mind isn't doing so well these days...!" Kamui expresses, for a moment sounding the very reality of her being a several-thousand-year-old machine that's probably gone extremely well past her designated lifespan. Despite -- or perhaps because -- of the childish, innocent ways in which she interacts with the world.

"I'll try to do better," Kamui sounds inspired. "And we can have another interview sometime, and maybe I won't even nap through our appointment..."

A pause. "Maybe. Naptime is very powerful... and the forbidden machina -kotatsu- is also very powerful."

<Pose Tracker> Zhang Xiumei has posed.

Xiumei realizes that, in truth, she isn't sure what to do with the statement that Kamui's mind might be failing. Except, of course, that an ancient robot -- even if she doesn't know how ancient -- being alive at all is a miracle. Her eyes widen a little bit... and then she looks down.

She has a small smile on her face. "Well... I, for one, would like that," she says. "It was a nice interview. Er--even if..."

Naptime is very powerful.

"...what is that forbidden machina?" she asks, head tilting. "I-I think I... missed that part..."

<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

"Ooh... you haven't seen the kotatsu? It's wonderful. It's a table, except you put a heating element underneath it and a big boufy blanket," Kamui expertly advertises, as if it were something she'd repeated over and over and over again to people. "It's like a devious Dig trap -- once you go in, it's difficult to come out!"

A pause.

"Umm. I wanted to ask... if you don't mind. What was that-- shaan, transformation you performed when the Fiends attacked, and you wore that armour? Something feels familiar about it."

<Pose Tracker> Zhang Xiumei has posed.

"It's--like a table that warms up, that you can lay inside of a blanket on?" Xiumei sounds not quite dubious, but confused by the prospect. Her nose wrinkles for a moment. "I think I would need to try it, first..."

She stops, though. Her head tilts, and then she says:

"Model V. It's... this." She holds up a bracelet; on it, the relief-carved helmet of Varius is there, in greens and violets. It looks almost like a piece of decoration. "I don't know... much about it, really. Just that it's called Model V, and I can change into the armor, but... I just sort of knew, after I synchronized with the bracelet."

<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

"Mmm. It's the most proper invention ever... bringing the comfort of bed outside of bedtime," Kamui muses, as if she has stumbled upon the great secret of life.

She blinks a few times as she looks towards Model V -- the bracelet, with the helmet of... there's a visible twitch on one eye, then she quietly nods. "Mysterious... did you find it in some ruin?" She bobbles her head one way, sucking in a quiet breath. She doesn't necessarily have to breathe, but she's finding herself breathing a bit quicker.

"Synchronise... like an ARM..." she muses. "I'm glad it's there to protect you, though...?"

<Pose Tracker> Zhang Xiumei has posed.

"Not... quite. Some Drifters did," Xiumei explains. "My family has a company--ah, the Zhang Great Seas Trading Company. You've likely heard of them."

Maybe not, but Acacia certainly has.

"They trade in ARMs discovered in ruins. They found this one, and... some Drifters decided to sell the ARMs, then try to take them back. They got into a fight with other Drifters and our security forces." Xiumei holds her hand up, rotating her wrist. "I grabbed this in the fight. And then it synchronized with me, and..."

She shakes her head. Her life changed forever, after that. "...Well, here I am. I think... there's a voice I hear, sometimes, from inside it."

<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

In truth, Kamui already struggles enough with personal names -- 'Zhang Xiumei', as she's noted, isn't just some idiosyncratic tic more than it's ... a necessity of hers to just remember people that company names may often be well beyond her.

Which is probably why her articles are so off-the-wall, too!

"That sounds nasty... I'm glad you're okay," Kamui furrows her brow. "But-- a voice, you said? Like the voice of the ARM? Some Drifters talk about being able to feel what their weapon needs."

She has no idea it's more literal than that.

<Pose Tracker> Zhang Xiumei has posed.

"I am too," Xiumei says. "It was a close thing, for awhile. But... that's why I got into ARMS. That and Eleanor was already here."

She looks down at the Biometal. It rotates a little, when she rolls her wrist; almost like it hss a mind of its own in how it turns, and that makes Xiumei smile. "...No, it's... a man's voice. He sounds... distant. Like he's not all there."

Like a ghost, she thinks.

"He doesn't talk to me," she says. "Just... at me."

<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

Kamui closes her eyes for a long moment...

...

But her mind doesn't turn up anything more. It's frustrating. Like little claws tugging away at the periphery of her mind, but returning nothing solid or profound.

"Is he not even conscious of you...?" Kamui asks, a little bewildered. "But, if he's lending you his powers, he must at least care. Even if he might be really competitive."

She blinks a few times. That's a weird thing to say. "Let me know if you want to... um, learn or train your powers better. I don't know what I can do to help with my own body or abilities, but we might be able to figure something out further."

<Pose Tracker> Zhang Xiumei has posed.

"I'm... not sure," Xiumei says. "When I think or say something back, I don't feel like he responds to me." She isn't sure, either, what to make of that. She sighs. Why did Kamui call him competitive?

Maybe she remembers a little. But, if she had to kill him... maybe it's better she not remember everything.

She looks up, then she tilts her head -- and finally, she nods at Kamui. "...Okay," she says. "If you're sure. If it's too much... that's all right, too."

<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

Memory is truly a fickle thing, where one can devote all their effort consciously trying to remember and turn out nothing... and then something slips from the subconscious. Perhaps more than any weapon, Dr. Lumen's ability to mimic that within her Suffering Circuit is most wondrous -- and terrifying -- of all.

Maybe the name itself is a product of her eventual cynicism towards it.

"It's okay. We'll be working together anyway, right...? We'll need to be tough and on guard to beat Odessa," Kamui perks up further. "I can't rely on strange capsules to bore out of the ground and bump me off my feet every time!" Zhang Xiumei has partially disconnected.

<Pose Tracker> Zhang Xiumei has posed.

"Hm... that is true," Xiumei says. "I don't think there's something we can do besides hard work." She frowns a little, though. Would hard work really do it? It felt like fate, not work, had defined most of her life lately.

She nods.

"We should try it. It's how I got by in school, at least!" Xiumei makes a fist with her hand, then pumps it, and beams.

<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

"... ... school sounds like the most difficult battlefield of all," Kamui muses, perhaps having gotten exactly the wrong and yet totally right impression of high school. Someday, the high school AU will exist...

"Hmm. Hard work is something Master ascribes to. She often stays up very late until two in the morning working," Kamui points out, then hesitates. "Though it seems like it's only because she starts things very late..."

<Pose Tracker> Zhang Xiumei has posed.

"Well... you're not wrong, exactly..." Xiumei isn't sure that Kamui is right, either. She blinks, though, at the description of Acacia's habits. She tilts her head.

"It sounds like she really works late?" she says. "Or... is she a night owl? I know she's a reporter... how did she, um, meet you?" She wants to ask 'find,' but that seems rude.

<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

Kamui rubs her chin for a moment longer, then she says, "Ah... Master works at her own hours. There isn't a schedule, so much as there is only Master. There is time for snacks, then reporting, then snacks, then being late for the deadline..."

Truly a heinous organisation, this Meria Bouletin.

Xiumei asks how they met, though. Kamui is silent for a moment.

"I was asleep in... a capsule. In a big laboratory... Teshri, it is called," Kamui explains. She squints. "Master... found me. Along with others, some of which had also heard about the ruin. It washed up on the peninsula's coast, I heard? I didn't quite figure it out."

She lowers her head. "I don't know if I should be awake. A part of me tells me I should have remained asleep with Gami, because we promised. But..."

She looks back to Xiumei. "I thought that there was... something I still needed to do. Not for others, or for the world or anything, but... for myself."

<Pose Tracker> Zhang Xiumei has posed.

"It... sounds like the snacks are a very important part of the Meria Bouletin's operations," Xiumei says in a neutral tone.

The capsule -- given the one they found, from this Doctor Lumen, in Luca -- does not shock her anymore. She nods her head, once, as she wonders about that. A ruin that washed up on the shore? Was it a ship, too? She frowns for a moment, as she looks down.

"Gami..." The name is a little familiar to her, too. "...Another friend? But... it sounds like you must have woken up for a reason."

She feels, faintly, jealous.

<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

Kamui probably doesn't understand the nature of Teshri, beyond the fact that it is 'home' and some kind of laboratory that's instinctively familiar to her despite the fact that she doesn't understand it in great detail. Perhaps Marivel knows a little more about it.

"More... than a friend? I do not know how to express it in human terms. I promised to be together forever with Gami," Kamui expresses without hesitation or worry. "I remember... we promised to rest together."

She lowers her head, looking ashamed for a moment. "That is why I have to return to Filgaia one day... that's why I'll work hard with you to find a way back. Because I know where my place of rest is..."

And from the way she expresses it... it's clear what she means -- a tomb. It wasn't a place of sleep like a bed... it was her grave, up until she was reactivated.

<Pose Tracker> Zhang Xiumei has posed.

"Oh..."

Xiumei looks down at that. She captures Kamui's meaning: both that Teshri was a tomb and that this Gami, maybe, was someone special. She isn't sure if she would call it romantic, because do robots do that? But...

She shakes her head once. "...I see what you mean," she says, quietly. "Well... hopefully we can get back there, and find Gami. She... wasn't there, when you woke up?"

<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

In truth, if you asked Kamui about whether Gami was her romantic partner, she'd... ...probably look at you dumbfoundedly because the human terminology for romance was something that was purposefully left vague because:

LIKE FIVE THOUSAND YEARS AGO ZEBOIM ERA

Dr. Lumen explodes at Marivel and Anastasia as she clings onto Kamui, "NOBODY is telling my precious robot daughter about the birds and the bees!!!"

A Beat-like bird whizzes right by her head.

NOW

"She was still there... as was Mettie. Mettie is really cute, and has a really powerful helmet. You would love her," Kamui expresses with cheer.

"There was a fight, but I made sure she was resting properly in our capsule before I left. I hope..." She frowns. "I hope no other Digger broke in and did anything. I should check, when we are back."

<Pose Tracker> Zhang Xiumei has posed.

"A... powerful helmet...? I may need to see her to understand," Xiumei admits. She sighs, and looks down. There are so many things, she thinks, that she doesn't understand. So many people she finds her life now entwined with.

Or is it her life? It may be the life borrowing her, instead.

She bites her lip, thinking for a second, before she voices: "I can come with you, when you do. If that's okay."

<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

Kamui wonders, internally, if Model V would be able to help Xiumei internalise and imagine the wonderful, perfect lifeform that is the Mettool. Alas, that may be a bridge too far for any of them.

"Mm," Kamui nods a few times. "It may be dangerous. I heard Master had some problems. But we'll make sure, together."

She holds her pinky finger up. "It's a pinky-promise!" Marivel Armitage (Marivel) pages Kamui and Acacia Saitani: meanwhile lydia was like 'i think i like you. i'm sorry. just kinda happened' to Ivan

<Pose Tracker> Zhang Xiumei has posed.

"A pinky promise?" Xiumei knows what one is; she simply hasn't made one since she was little, with Eleanor. She cracks a smile after a second, though, and then she loops her pinky around Kamui's.

"All right, then!" she says. "As soon as we're back on Filgaia... we'll go have a look."