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Margaret Elisabeth Faust

"Witch eliminated. Alright, grab the Grief Seed and let's go."

0 · 676 views · located in Kalani Island, Hawaii, USA

a character in “Kalani Magica”, as played by ABC

Description

♦ Margaret Elisabeth Faust ♦
Basics
Name
Margaret Elisabeth Faust. Margaret is her maternal grandmother's name, and Elisabeth is the name of her father's sister. Somehow, she fails to see the irony present in her name.

Nickname(s)
She doesn't have any nicknames at the moment, but she's certain that it's only a matter of time before Judith comes up with something. She does, however, protest being called Marge.

Age
15

Gender
Female

Sexuality
Margaret claims to have no time for such things, though implying she likes girls does seem to get a slightly greater reaction.

Image
Appearance
Hair
Margaret's hair is long, thick, and black. It seems as though it would be far more unruly if not held back by a hairband.

Eyes
Margaret has hazel eyes, and wears neither glasses nor contacts.

Markings
Like many Puella Magi, she has a symbol on the nail of her left middle finger, matching her Soul Gem's emblem, specifically a dark blue shield.

Build
She's a bit short, but otherwise fairly average in build.

Clothes
Margaret tends to dress rather simply. Not casual per say, just not particularly flashy. She'll often just wear a nondescript blouse and a plain pair of pants. Even during formal occasions her attire tends to be rather practical.

Accessories
The only accessories on her person are her white hairband and her Soul Gem ring.

Weapons
Combat knives. One in each hand, and the rest that were summoned floating a short distance off of the ground around her.

Skills
Natural Skills
Margaret's quick fingers, with their natural finesse, are excellent for manipulating fine objects, primarily her knives. She's also quite bright. Finally Margaret's sheer level of raw determination can be downright terrifying at times.

Learned Skills
Her experience as a veteran Magical Girl has taught her a few things, the most prominent being her fighting abilities, and her general ability to remain cool under pressure, the latter of which can make her extremely difficult to read. Also, while it's fairly irrelevant in her own opinion, Margaret took piano lessons when she was younger, and is still quite proficient with the instrument.

Weaknesses
Margaret's ability to express herself is quite poor, as a result of her constant suppression of her own emotions. Also, she actually isn't that strong, at least when compared to other Puella Magi, hence her hit-and-run style of fighting. Finally, her pragmatism seems to falter when it comes to the people she cares about, and she finds herself doing things to appease them that, from an objective viewpoint, conflict with logic.

Abilities
As is the case with all recorded Magical Girls, Margaret's strength, speed, and endurance are greatly enhanced. While she is weaker in terms of physical strength than most, her speed is exceeded only by those girls whose wish ability relates to it. The ability she herself received as a result of her wish, was a blue energy field that shields her from harm. Normally seen only as a faint dark blue aura around her body, the shield will briefly flash to a more visible outline around Margaret while absorbing damage.

Image
Mentality
Quirks
Margaret's usually bland expression is often matched by her stance. She tends to stand perfectly straight, with her arms at her sides, or behind her back.

Likes
Judith
Rain
Her parents
Feeling prepared
Music

Dislikes
Incubators
Yuubey specifically
Reflecting on past events
Unreasonable people
Letting her facade slip

Fears
Margaret's biggest fear is losing someone important to her, a group which currently consists of her mother, her father, and her Puella Magi partner Judith.

Personality
Margaret typically acts as the absolute picture of a serious and collected intellectual, reserved, polite, calm, and levelheaded, if not slightly abrasive. She rarely speaks to most people, and is unlikely to say much if the situation demands that she do so, instead saying only what needs to be said, most often in a complete monotone, and then ending the conversation.

As a Puella Magi, she remains fairly the same, even while under full assault by a Witch. Even her cries of pain sound more like sounds of annoyance. She is however, noticeably more practical in her words and actions than many others of her kind. Her bearing while "in uniform" does tend to be slightly more severe or blunt, though this is most likely due to the level of danger involved. No Magical Girl under her tutelage, aside possibly from Judith, will find themselves coddled, nor however will they receive any evaluation that is not true. Margaret is neither one to give unearned praise, nor needlessly criticize. Those who work with her for long enough may find that, from time to time, her face softens, as she unwittingly lets her emotionless persona slip, if only for a moment.

It should be noted that her general stoicism is completely deliberate on her part, a defense against the harsh life of a Magical Girl. That said, it's largely automatic by now.

Personal Life
Significant Relationships
Currently, there are only three people who she could be considered close to, those being her mother, who she rarely gets to see, her father, who has to be visited in a mental institution, and Judith, her partner. Debatably, it could also be said that she is close to Yuubey, but the Incubator isn't really a person. In addition, they don't get along very well anymore.

Margaret loves her mother, and feels terrible for the situation that she has created for her. After all, the poor woman has to work two jobs just to support them. Unfortunately, this means that they are rarely ever able to talk to one another, and the times when they are able to do so usually sees one or both half asleep throughout the whole conversation.

Her visits with her father tend to follow the same general pattern. They always begin with polite greetings, and always end with him asking her to undo what she did with her wish. In retrospect, it might have been a bad idea to tell him in the first place, but she had thought that knowing how he survived might make him feel better about it. Apparently, this was not the case. Due to the repetitive nature of these visits, and her own packed schedule, Margaret rarely visits him any more.

Judith reminds her a great deal of what it was first like to be a Magical Girl, and as such, she's worries that she may eventually end up like Margaret herself, or worse, her mentor or the third member of their former team. To this end, Margaret has kept certain disturbing pieces of information from her, since she's decided they'll do her more harm than good. Aside from that, Margaret genuinely likes Judith, and tries to live up to the image the girl seems to have developed of her, even if that does mean occasionally abandoning pragmatism for a while.

Her interactions with Yuubey remain civil, so long as someone's watching. She does not approve in any way of him trying to contract with girls, tricking them into giving up their lives for a cause that most of them will never even learn about. As such she has made it very clear that she will kill him, should he attempt to approach a non-contracted girl. Though she has had to carry through with this over thirty times this year, he seems to be getting the idea, and only tries it when he's fairly certain he can get away with it. Despite this, he doesn't take issue with her personally, after all, he lacks the ability to hold a grudge, or even get angry in the first place.

Family
Her mother and father are the only living family members that Margaret knows about. It's possible that she may have relatives on the mainland, but she never heard anything about them if that's the case.

History
The first thing of any real bearing on Margaret's current self happened about two years ago when she first contracted, her wish being that her father, who was overseas with the military at the time, would come home safely. Her first mission as a Puella Magi failed miserably, and she was nearly killed by a Witch that was far too strong for her. Thankfully however, Margaret was saved by two other Magical Girls who had happened to be in the area at the time, a veteran and her rookie. After this first incident, Margaret joined the two who had saved her as a Puella Magi trio.

For a month the three worked in tandem, and Margaret learned a great deal. Then her father was sent home, physically unharmed, as per her wish. He was not however, in a very good mental state, having "survived what should have killed any human", and having been the only one of his squad to do so. Shortly after arriving, he attempted to fix this, and was sent to a mental institution when he failed. Margaret tried explaining to him why he had survived, and that he shouldn't feel bad as a result, but this only lead to him insisting that she repair the damage she had done, since he was now unable to. She refused of course, and their visits ever since have had very few other conversational points.

Shortly after this, the veteran Magi of their trio met her death at the hands of a Witch, which caused further tragedy when the other girl fell into despair as a result, and became a Witch herself. The situation was then oh so helpfully explained to Margaret by their companion Yuubey, who explained that this was the fate of a all Magical Girls who didn't die first, the true nature of Soul Gems, and even gave her a brief lesson in thermodynamics when she asked why. Since then, Margaret has attempted to make herself cold and uncaring, as a way to prevent her own tumble into despair, along with adopting a more practical stance on hunting Familiars.

Over a year later, she found Judith, who had only very recently become a Puella Magic. She took the girl under her wing, but couldn't bear to tell her what she had truly agreed to in making a contract, instead doing her best to teach and protect her. This also marked the beginning of her campaign to prevent any further contracting, which has had an impressive degree of success, at least within the confines of Kalani Island.

Magical Girl Outfit
Margaret's costume, like its wearer, is more practical than most. Rather than a frilly dress or holy robe, she instead appears garbed in a skintight suit of armor, shimmering slightly with a faint, dark blue, aura of protection, with her Soul Gem embedded in the suit just above her collarbone. Her transformation sequence consists of her putting the gem in place, and the rest of the suit expanding out from there, seeming to unfold in a mechanical fashion.

Image

So begins...

Margaret Elisabeth Faust's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Margaret Elisabeth Faust Character Portrait: Judith Lillian Cohen

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#, as written by ABC
Margaret

The small smile that had found its way onto Margaret's face now seemed unable to depart, held there by her friend's enthusiastic, if perhaps somewhat overly so, reaction. The reaction was not purely vocal either, and Margaret awkwardly returned the hug she unexpectedly received. Judith just seemed so... happy.

This, she reaffirmed to herself, was why she did what she did. The deception, the sleepless nights chasing Yuubey across the city, the cold statements made to the few that he did get to, and there had been an instance or two before this one, this was what all of that was for. And it was worth it.

As the pair walked along, the dark-haired Magical Girl listened attentively to her partner's thinking aloud. Occasionally though, she would glance down at the Soul Gem in her left hand. She wasn't looking for Witches, though she would of course be able to see if any did come within a detectable range. What she was looking for, was the telltale signatures of another Puella Magi. Those two were still in the building, and there was a good chance that Yuubey might still go after them, rather than take the time to find other girls. While she would almost certainly be too late to prevent the first one from contracting, she might get there in time to stop the second.

For the moment, however, it seemed the only magic she could currently sense was that of Judith.

Speaking of which, wasn't she closer? Yes, it seemed each time Margaret looked up Judith was a bit closer, until finally their shoulders were almost touching. For a moment, the older girl was concerned that perhaps she had gotten injured fighting the Familiars, and was now drifting to the side when she walked, but, as of moment of observation showed, it was just Judith being herself. If it made her happy, Margaret was willing to oblige, even if this was a bit closer than she normally preferred having people. Judith, as always, was the exception.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Margaret Elisabeth Faust Character Portrait: Judith Lillian Cohen

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Judith

Soon enough, they were in the video store, and Judith was browsing through the rows of dvds with Margaret.

"Oh, by the way, the movie Ruth wants is called Knights of the Sacred Sword." the younger Puella Magi said to her partner, as they browsed. "It's a movie that came out last year, I think. I thought it wasn't very good, myself, but Ruth absolutely loves it, and has been begging us to get it for her birthday for weeks, now."

Judith smiled slightly at the thought of her sister. Not for the first time, she was struck by the thought that they had a lot in common, even for sisters. When either of them liked something, they were very enthusiastic about it. Be it a movie, a game, or...a person....

The greenette blushed lightly at that thought, but her smile only grew wider. It was a good thing she was already an affectionate person; otherwise, Margie would have found out about her crush on her ages ago....

"Say, Margie." after a moment of silence between them, Judith couldn't help but fill in the gap with a question she was quite curious to know the answer to. "Why don't you want Aolani and Chiyo to Contract?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Margaret Elisabeth Faust Character Portrait: Judith Lillian Cohen

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#, as written by ABC
Margaret

Margaret nodded when told the name of the movie they'd be looking for. She hadn't seen it herself, but the name would be sufficient information for finding it, both alphabetically and genre-wise. Somehow though, it was proving to be surprisingly difficult to locate. Perhaps this place separated animated films from live-action ones, and she was looking in the wrong section? Whatever the reason, Margaret found this store's organizational system to be quite lacking, though that might just be because she had higher categorical standards.

She did notice Judith's slight blush, and considered inquiring as to the reason behind it, but Judith had a question of her own. Unfortunately, it was not one that Margaret could answer in full.

"Well," she started, "for one thing, Kalani Island is only so big, meaning a limited number of Grief Seeds. In addition this is a dangerous life, and at least one of the two would be almost guaranteed to get badly hurt, if not killed, and I can't let you be put in a situation where you get hurt trying to prevent it." Margaret sighed slightly, before adding, in an attempt to lessen the harshness that what she had said could be interpreted as "I'm not saying that they don't have the right to make that decision, but I don't want it putting either of us in danger in the process."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Margaret Elisabeth Faust Character Portrait: Judith Lillian Cohen

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Judith

"I suppose that's true," Judith nodded her head in acknowledgment, conceding that fact. "Still...I think it'd be great if they Contracted! We'd have a lot more help in taking down Witches. And I'd love to make friends with them, too!"

Judith smiled a little at that pleasant thought, rather happy with that idea. Even if Chiyo and Aolani ended up not becoming Magical Girls, she'd love to remain friends with them. Aside from Margie, she really didn't have that many. Not that hanging out with Margie wasn't great! It certainly was! But, sometimes she did wish that she had a wider circle of friends...

The green-haired girl looked up from her search, feeling a little annoyed that she had yet to find the dvd. How hard was it to find one particular movie? Hm...maybe she should ask for the store clerk's help...?

As she turned to look over at the register, something caught her eye. Judith looked over at it, and blinked when she fully recognized a drape. A drape that, apparently, covered a small opening within the shop. Huh, that was weird....

"Maybe it's in there?" Judith hazard a guess, pointing over at the closed off section. Before Margaret could reply, she decided to go investigate herself. Judith walked over and ducked inside, pushing aside the drape. It only took her a few seconds to rush right back out, a bright red blush sprawled across her face. She almost ran back to Margaret, the blush still on her face as she stared at her friend with wide, open eyes.

"D-Don't go in there, Margie. Never go in there!" Judith quickly babbled, as her blush only intensified. "Oh God...w-why didn't they put a sign up there or something?!"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Margaret Elisabeth Faust Character Portrait: Judith Lillian Cohen

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#, as written by ABC
Margaret

Margaret on the other hand, did not think it would be great if they contracted. But then again, she knew a few things about what that entailed that Judith was not privy to, Margaret herself had seen to that, and would continue to do so for as long as possible.

What Margaret did consider to be possible, was the idea that having these two as friends might be nice. Yes, the blonde asked a lot of questions, and the smaller one was painfully naive, and possibly a bit slow, but having them around could have its benefits. So long as Yuubey continued following them, and she was now certain that was exactly what he was doing, two years with him first as her sole companion and then her constant quarry meant that she could predict his actions with a degree of accuracy rivaled only by time travelers, none of whom Margaret knew, she wouldn't have to worry about him trying to contract with random girls off the street. As long as Aolani remained skeptical about the whole deal, and kept her friend in check, the Incubator would just be wasting his time, and she might get some free.

That and their companionship might be enjoyable, which, as she now found necessary to remind herself, was the reason people were supposed to make friends.

Where was this movie anyway? If Margaret had to speak with an employee to help them locate this thing she didn't think she would be terribly motivated to keep herself from openly criticizing their obviously inferior organizing. Margaret's patience was far from its limit, she just had little for laziness or poor work ethic.

It was then that Judith noticed the curtain, and made the suggestion the movie might be beyond it, before swiftly moving to investigate. Personally, the elder Puella Magi thought the curtain more likely to conceal a small room where movies could be watched by the staff or something. After all, why would they isolate a few movies into that room specifically, with no signs as to which ones you might find there? Whatever it was, it would probably be best if she followed.

But, as it turned out, that would not be necessary after all, as the green haired girl left the room even more quickly than she had entered it, this time looking rather distressed.

"D-Don't go in there, Margie. Never go in there!" Margaret raised a questioning eyebrow. It was now apparent that her partner's distress was not caused by danger of any kind, so that concern was allayed. "Oh God...w-why didn't they put a sign up there or something?!"

At this point, there was no way that Margaret could not ask. "Judith, what did you see behind those drapes?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Margaret Elisabeth Faust Character Portrait: Judith Lillian Cohen

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Judith

"I saw--I saw...." Judith gave a shudder and trailed off, her face still very red. "Oh God! W-Why didn't they put up a sign?!"

Good God, what kind of video store was this?! To have po...por...adult films in a place like this! Granted, they were...away from the regular merchandize, but it wasn't like they had a sign up there that said what was behind the drape! Even worse, the first thing she had seen in there was a poster on the wall that had a graphic display of a man's....

"Oh goooood!" Judith covered her face with her hands, embarrassed beyond belief. "They...there are p-p-p-....adult f-films behind that drape, Margie..."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Margaret Elisabeth Faust Character Portrait: Judith Lillian Cohen

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#, as written by ABC
Margaret

Margaret waited patiently as Judith stammered out what she had been behind the drape, after which, she seemed to consider what had been said for a few moments. At first only offering a "Hm," to indicate that she understood. Finally, having apparently given the matter enough thought for the time being, she asked, in what appeared to be complete seriousness, "Did you see the movie while you were back there?"

This was probably not a sign that Margaret believed or was trying to imply that they might be looking for a movie that would actually belong in that section, probably being the operative word, but rather a subtle crack at how badly this place seemed to shelve its merchandise. That or she could just be genuinely curious. One side effect of Margaret's ever-present unflappable expression and failure to speak with any sort of inflection was that it could make it very difficult to tell if or when she was joking.

Upon further consideration of her inquiry however, whether it had been in jest or not, the pragmatic Puella Magi noted that of course Judith hadn't seen the film they were searching for; she would have brought it back with her if she had. It would, however, make sense for it to be in that room, seeing as they had looked everywhere else. As such, there were only three suitable courses of action. "It seems we'll have to look in there, or ask someone who works here. Or we could look elsewhere."

Margaret herself was not in the least embarrassed by what Judith had told her. Why should she be? After all, she had no involvement in anything the green haired girl had seen, and, indeed, hadn't even seen the things herself. Margaret was not one to be flustered over things that were not even truly involved in the situation.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Margaret Elisabeth Faust Character Portrait: Judith Lillian Cohen

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Judith

Judith simply stared at Margaret for a good few seconds, at a loss for words. After opening and closing her mouth a few times, she finally managed to get out, "Y-You can check in there yourself, Margie, but....I, I'm not going back in t-there..."

The poor girl was more than a little nonplussed by Margaret's reaction, but it wasn't like Margie was the type of girl to be easily embarrassed by stuff like this, right? Besides, the movie probably was behind that drape; it wouldn't surprise Judith at this point. But, she wasn't about to go back in there again! God no! Never again!

"....I'm never coming back to this video store ever again." Judith murmured to herself, still blushing from the memory of what, exactly, she had seen behind that horrible drape.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Margaret Elisabeth Faust Character Portrait: Judith Lillian Cohen

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#, as written by ABC
Margaret

Margaret nodded in reply to Judith's words, both the ones that had and had not been meant for her. After a minute, she said simply "Very well. I'll return momentarily." With that, the dark haired girl walked to the doorway and brushed the drape aside. Then, with a look back at Judith, she entered the room.

Now that she was actually in the room, well technically it would be more accurate to call it an alcove or a nook, a light blush appeared on Margaret's face. She still wasn't one to be embarrassed over things which did not directly involve her, but the addition of the posters was a bit... much.

The veteran Puella Magi closed her eyes briefly, giving a slight sigh and adjusting her headband. Moments later, Margaret had regained her calm, and she set to work sorting through the... films... for the movie they were looking for.

From what she could tell, the majority of the movies in this room actually belonged here, or so she gathered based on their names, which mainly consisted of puns. Having never actually seen these things before, Margaret couldn't say for certain that all films of this kind had names such as those, but the specific puns in question made it fairly clear what one would be watching. Even so, the fact that they were in the room in which they belonged did not mean there was any sort of system to how they were organized.

Two minutes into her search, Margaret was interrupted by the sudden appearance of one of the store's employees, which it apparently did have, though how he had managed to remain hidden in such a tiny store was anyone's guess. For a long moment, neither of them said anything, the employee, a gangly lad who Margaret would estimate to be in his early twenties or so, seemed to be awkwardly attempting to decide what to say. For her part, Margaret merely stood there impassively, waiting patiently for the young man to speak.

"Um..." he finally started, his voice rather squeaky, as though puberty was taking especially long with his vocal cords. "Aren't you a little young to be in here?"

Margaret didn't even bother to dignify this with an answer, both because it was clear what he already thought the answer was, and because the very lack of a sign indicating the age appropriateness of this nook was what had lead to Judith embarrassing herself. Instead she asked, rather flatly, "Does this store carry the movie Knights of the Sacred Sword?"

The employee, Steve judging by his nametag, was apparently expecting a different reaction, as his response was at first a confused "Huh?" Margaret knew that he had heard her just fine, and turned to continue her investigation of the shelves and their contents. Before Steve could muster up an intelligible reply, it seemed that he was unused to shooing people out of this room, and possibly even being in it himself, Margaret located the movie they were looking for, and stepped out from behind the drape.

As Steve went off to the counter, or wherever it was that he had been until now, Margaret walked over to her green haired friend, presenting to her the movie for which they had been searching. Without the slightest hint of a tone she stated, perhaps unnecessarily, "Mission accomplished."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Margaret Elisabeth Faust Character Portrait: Judith Lillian Cohen

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Judith

Judith gave a relieved sigh, glad that this ordeal was finally coming to an end. Now they could get out of this blasted store...

The green-haired girl took the dvd from her friend, briefly checking the price tag stickered on the front of the case. Well within her price range, of course! And she had more than enough money for...

Judith blinked, and gave herself a once over. After a few seconds she felt a small sense of dread well up within her.

Her money was in her wallet. Her wallet was in her purse. And her purse was left behind at home; in her rush to get ready for patrolling that morning, she had left it behind. With meant that she had no money on her to pay for the movie.

Oh dear...

"Um, Margie?" Judith blushed, and felt very guilty for what she was about to ask. "I....left my money at home. Um, could you buy this movie for me, please...?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Margaret Elisabeth Faust Character Portrait: Judith Lillian Cohen

0.00 INK

#, as written by ABC
Margaret

Margaret gave a small understanding smile, this, along with most of her other expressions, seemed to be something she showed only Judith. "Of course. Actually, that had been my intention anyway, so this works out nicely."

Margaret was, of course, lying through her teeth, something she had gotten pretty good at. The elder Puella Magi had no money, either here or at home. The financial situation that her family was currently in, which was largely her fault she remembered, meant that there was rarely, if ever, enough excess money for her to receive an allowance of some kind. She had never deliberately hid this fact from Judith, though she never really brought it up either. Apparently, the latter was what won out in the end, and there was no way that Margaret was going to deny her junior this.

Pretending to check her pockets, Margaret, obviously, came up empty. "Hm, it seems my wallet must have fallen out of my pocket back at the food court. Stay here with the movie. I'll return shortly."

And with that, she was out of the store, her hair flying out behind her.

Again, this evaluation, and a naturally assumed part of the statement that followed, was less than completely honest. Margaret did not even own a wallet, nor was she headed to the food court. She did, however, intend to be back momentarily. Margaret was not proud of this deception, but she doubted that Judith would approve of how she was about to obtain the money needed, and she didn't want to disappoint the girl by telling her that they simply wouldn't be able to get the movie for Ruth. Furthermore, what if the movie wasn't there when they got back, and they couldn't find it anywhere else? Then, not only would Judith be disappointed, Ruth would be too, which might even cause Judith to feel as though the situation was her fault, and that was something that Margaret simply could not allow.

So Margaret approached an ATM, and, making positively sure that there was nobody nearby, placed her hand on the screen as though she were using it in he traditional way. She could have just busted the machine open, but that would call a good deal of attention, and while she had no doubt that she could abscond with whatever ill-gotten gains she fancied before anyone arrived, it was unlikely that there wouldn't be at least one security camera with a view of this spot. Instead, she summoned her shield.

Now, originally Margaret's shield did not wrap around her as it typically did when she fought nowadays. When she was just starting out, the thing appeared as a transparent square, which floated in front of her. It was only about a month later that she had learned how to bend and stretch and otherwise alter the shape of the protective barrier, as well as move it around well enough that she could actually use it as she did now without being stuck in one spot.

It took a great deal of maneuvering the very compressed shield around in the ATM's inner workings, but she finally managed to force it to cough up two bills. So long as they weren't fives or ones that should be sufficient. Margaret doubted the movie cost more then twenty dollars or so.

Oops.

Margaret really had only been trying to get tens, but it appeared that these bills had one too many zeros one them. This was problematic not only because this much would be missed when someone finally checked the records, but also because even she wouldn't be able to convince Judith that she just happened to carry around hundred dollar bills in her non-existent wallet. She would need to get change before she went back.

Perhaps a trip to the food court wasn't such a bad idea after all.

In the end, Margaret not only ended up going to the food court to acquire change, but also buying both herself and Judith a late breakfast to hopefully attract a little less attention, besides they hadn't eaten yet. Also, since she would now need a place to keep this money, she bought a wallet on the way back.

The noirette did feel a bit guilty about the method in which she had acquired the money. Contrary to the impression she could occasionally give, she did have a conscience, and did care about things besides herself and those close to her, otherwise she wouldn't spend all that time chasing Yuubey all over the bloody island, it was just that she had priorities. She was also objective enough to see that the money had to be taken from someone, whoever owned the ATM in this case. It wasn't like when she left Familiars alive long enough for them to eat people and become Witches when Grief Seeds became scarce, that was done solely for her and Judith's continued survival, not that that was often necessary. This was petty thievery.

This thought did not please Margaret at all, and she immediately rallied herself against it. It was entirely possible that she would have to tell one of those girls that Yuubey wanted to contract with the truth about becoming a Magical Girl, as a last ditch effort to deter them from doing so, and, while she would try to keep that matter private, she couldn't be perfectly sure that word would not find its way to Judith. If it did come to that, Margaret did not need Ruth disappointed on her birthday, and the resulting feelings of guilt, to add to the difficulty of preventing her partner from falling into despair. Not that she thought that Judith's little sister would actually say anything to express said disappointment, but Judith would know, and that would be enough.

Besides, if these people didn't have insurance on these machines, she was teaching them a valuable lesson, one that they would likely lose far more learning it from anyone else.

And so, having resolved her moral dilemma, at least temporarily, Margaret arrived back at the video store laden with a bag of breakfast pastries in one arm, the hand attached to the arm extending the necessary amount of cash to the clerk behind the register, who was curiously not Steve, and two cups of tea balanced expertly in her other hand.

Turning to address her green haired friend, she the explained the situation, at least to a certain extent. "Apologies, it took a bit longer than I expected. While I was there, I realized that we didn't have time to eat this morning."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Margaret Elisabeth Faust Character Portrait: Judith Lillian Cohen

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Judith

"Oh!" Judith perked up, blinking in surprise as Margaret paid for the dvd. "Thanks, Margie! I'd forgotten all about breakfast..."

She'd been in such a rush to get dressed earlier, that she'd forgotten to have something to eat before leaving with her friend. Strange she hadn't noticed that earlier; especially after fighting that Witch. By all rights, she should be starving. Weird that she didn't feel even the least bit hungry...

Oh, well. She wasn't about to question that too much.

Judith took the bagged dvd once the transaction was finished, slinging the plastic bag around her shoulder. She was glad all that had worked out, in the end. Ruth would just love her for this, no doubt; she'd been wanting this movie for so long! The green-haired girl couldn't wait to see the joyous look on her sister's face when she opened up her present on her birthday...

"Thanks for buying the dvd and for the food and drink, too, Margie!" Judith beamed, smiling widely at her companion as they walked out of the store. She reached over and took one of the cups of tea, and sipped from it.

"What food did you get?" she further inquired, eying the bag Margaret carried in her other hand.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Margaret Elisabeth Faust Character Portrait: Judith Lillian Cohen

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Margaret

In reply to the offers of thanks, Margaret merely shrugged as if to say "Of course." The inquiry as to what breakfast foods had been obtained however, actually made her have to stop and think. Margaret knew that she had gotten pastries, but she had just selected a large variety of them at random, so to firstly explain why she would be paying with a hundred dollar bill, and also so that the possibility of Judith not liking one kind or another would be less of an issue.

In the end, she settled for readjusting the objects in her hands so that she was now holding the bag open with both, while balancing her tea on her thumb. It wasn't the most stable of positions for the cup, but Margaret didn't seem inclined to allow it to fall, and it didn't really look like it was going to. She then extended the open bag toward Judith so that she could look inside. "See for yourself." she offered.

The elder Puella Magi wasn't entirely sure where they were headed at the moment, walking through the mall as they were, but she assumed they were going somewhere. Well, obviously they were going somewhere. The part that was assumed was that Judith had some destination in mind. If not, she had to admit that this was nice too.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Margaret Elisabeth Faust Character Portrait: Judith Lillian Cohen

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Judith

Judith peered inside the bag, and grinned when she saw its contents. "Ooh, those look delicious, Margie! Thanks again for buying them!"

After another few minutes of walking, Judith finally led them to their destination: a bench located near the mall water fountain. The green-haired girl took a seat on the bench, placing the bag containing the dvd at her feet.

She stretched her hand over to reach into Margaret's bag, and took out a plastic container that held one of the pastries. The younger Puella Magi eagerly opened it up and took out the foodstuff, biting into it. She hummed happily as she chewed, enjoying the taste. She tried to say as much a moment later, though her words came out garbled because of the food.

Judith swallowed, and gave a sheepish grin, a light blush on her face. "This taste delicious, Margie! Thanks for buying it."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Margaret Elisabeth Faust Character Portrait: Judith Lillian Cohen

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Margaret

"What are friends for?" came Margaret's rhetorical reply to Judith's thanks. She knew that Judith would have done the same for her.

When they arrived at the water fountain, Margaret set the bag of food on the bench beside them, and adopted a more traditional grip on her beverage. Her thumb wasn't hurting from supporting the tea yet, that would take a few hours, but she couldn't actually drink it while balancing it there. Well, she could, just not while holding the bag, and if she wasn't holding the bag then she'd have no reason to continue to balance the drink so precariously.

Hearing her partner's happy humming, it occurred to Margaret that she too needed to eat, at least she assumed she did, and so she reached into the bag and produced a frosted doughnut. The noirette wasn't really one to be concerned with her figure, she wasn't even certain that it was possible for it to change at this point, and even if it was, the exercise from constantly hunting Witches, Yuubey, and Familiars would be able to counteract just about anything.

While the two were chewing, Judith spoke up, unfortunately forgetting to swallow first and not producing a sound that could be translated into English. Margaret glanced over with a single raised eyebrow. A moment later, Judith repeated what she had previously been trying to say, this time clearly. "That's quite alright. I'm glad you enjoy it." Margaret answered simply. She really was happy that the junior Magical Girl was still able to enjoy herself like this, free of any worries about Soul Gems or Witches.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Margaret Elisabeth Faust Character Portrait: Judith Lillian Cohen

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Judith

Judith continued to eat with Margaret for a little time afterward, greatly enjoying the pastries. Finally she and Margie finished most of the food, and were ready to move on.

"Well, I think I'm ready to leave now," Judith commented, as they stood up from the bench. "So, what next...ooh! How about we go ahead and leave for your house, Margie? That way we can prepare for the sleepover tonight!"

Judith was quite enthused with that idea, giving a little smile at the thought of it.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Margaret Elisabeth Faust Character Portrait: Judith Lillian Cohen

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Margaret

For a little while, Margaret ate in silence, further considering her previous subject of thought. Yes, she reasoned, she was right to have refrained from telling Judith. If she had, would they still be able to have happy moments like these? Margaret didn't think so. At best Judith would become like her, at worst... well, Margaret had seen what happened when Magical Girls just couldn't deal with the situation they had been presented.

That was when Judith broke the silence, suggesting that they head over to Margaret's house to get ready for the sleepover. The veteran Puella Magi was fairly certain that most of Judith's things would be at her house, rather than Margaret's, so she wasn't really sure what preparations could be made there. All the same, she'd go along with it. Perhaps Judith was thinking of something that hadn't occurred to her.

Margaret led the way to a fairly small house, tucked away between two, much larger, buildings. It wasn't run down by any means, no place on Kalani Island really did, but it was noticeably less modern than its neighbors. It wasn't the same house they used to live in, when Margaret first became a Magical Girl, and for that she was grateful, even if that was only the case because they'd had to sell the old one. Producing the key from her pocket, Margaret unlocked the door, and gestured for Judith to step inside.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Margaret Elisabeth Faust Character Portrait: Judith Lillian Cohen

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Judith

Judith walked in, and followed Margaret up to her room. Once they arrived, Judith walked over to the bed, taking a seat on it.

"So, what movies do you want to watch this time, Margie?" Judith inquired happily, beaming at her partner. "Do you wanna have a theme tonight, or just pick some movies at random?"

She loved to host a mini-movie night when having sleepovers with Margie, and tonight would prove no exception to that! Not if she could help it, at least. Besides, eating popcorn with Margie and watching some movies together with her sounded like a perfect night to her!

And then maybe later she could try to convince Margie to allow her to braid her hair...Ooh, that would be so fun! And maybe after that they could play twister, or truth or dare? That sounded like a good idea to her! It had been awhile since they last played twister, especially...

Judith gave a light blush, upon remembering what had happened that last time...they ended up falling onto the mat together, with Margaret landing on top of her. At that moment, her face had been so close to Margie's, that Judith had nearly given in to a sudden urge to kiss her then and there...

The green-haired girl cut off that train of thought, not wanting to think of such an embarrassing thing, and rather hoped her friend wouldn't notice her blush. Still...if they did play twister again, a part of her kinda hoped something like that might happen again. It would, ah, be very....n-nice...

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Margaret Elisabeth Faust Character Portrait: Judith Lillian Cohen

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Margaret

Margaret's room was sparsely furnished; a desk, a bed, and a chair for the desk. There were no posters on the wall, the bedsheets were clear of not only any specific characters, but any sort of design as well. The sheets were a stark white, and the comforter a dark gray, the bed being so neatly made that it looked as though it were never slept in. The walls were the same shade of egg-white as when they had moved in, the desk was an unpainted wood of some kind, and the desk chair looked like it had been lifted from some office somewhere, which actually wasn't too far from the truth. There was also a dresser in her closet, but the door was currently closed.

The whole room, much like its owner, was practical and entirely focused on its designated purpose.

Margaret took a seat on the chair and swiveled it to face Judith, after taking a moment to straighten the homework on her desk. When Judith asked her question Margaret just shrugged. "As you know, I'm not really much of an expert in that field. I'm sure whatever you think will be a good idea will be though, it always has been."

At least as far as movies were concerned, though to be fair, it was hardly Judith's fault that Margaret was no fun in a game of Truth or Dare, nor was the Twister incident her deliberate doing. Not that that had been entirely unpleasant, even if it were.

Margaret shook her head slightly, unsure quite why her mind had drifted to that particular incident. Focus Margaret. No time for reminiscence. It's entirely possible that Yuubey might come back any minute for some reason, and you need to be ready to snatch him up if he does.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Margaret Elisabeth Faust Character Portrait: Judith Lillian Cohen

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Judith

"Alright! I'll pick the movies myself, then, when I pop on back home to get my things for the sleepover," Judith replied, not really all that surprised by Margaret's answer.

Margie always seemed to trust her judgment on matters like these, or otherwise tried to defer to her own wishes. Or at least, that's how it seemed to Judith. It was actually rather sweet, and she definitely appreciated it. Though she did wish that Margie would be more...herself, or something like that, when asked something like this. Or something like that, at least. It was...hard to put into words.

At any rate, a part of her did wish that Margaret would contribute more to discussions like this...if only to allay her fears that Margie wasn't doing this solely to placate her own desires. The green-haired girl really wanted her friend to have good, genuine fun during their sleepovers and situations like it, and not merely go along with it for her own sake.

But, she wasn't going to bring that up now. Judith didn't quite have the courage to bring up a potentially sensitive topic like that, and she really didn't want to offend Margie, or otherwise imply that she wasn't being a good friend. She'd never want to do that!

"Is there anything else you want to do tonight, Margie?" she decided to inquire, hoping to get her friend to contribute a bit more. "Maybe play Monopoly again? It's been awhile since we did that."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Margaret Elisabeth Faust Character Portrait: Judith Lillian Cohen

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Margaret

Judith was unhappy. Margaret was suddenly certain of it. Well, perhaps that was a bit much. What Margaret was certain of, was that Judith had been at least partially displeased with something, if only for a moment. The noirette might not have had much in the way of social skills beyond being polite, but something she had learned, was how to read her partner. Of course she had, it was a necessity, and Margaret did what was necessary.

But what had caused it? That was something that was currently beyond the elder Puella Magi's ability to discern, especially when it had vanished so quickly. Still though, that sort of thing had to be prevented. Quickly Margaret, display camaraderie. Right, and how exactly did she go about doing that? It wasn't something that could just be switched on and off, and while she was certain that she and Judith did have it, it probably wasn't shining through in Margaret's current demeanor.

"Is there anything else you want to do tonight, Margie? Maybe play Monopoly again? It's been awhile since we did that." Judith asked, before Margaret could think of a suitable question that would lead to Judith telling her what the matter was. Ah, but the green-haired girl had pretty much told her how, hadn't she?

"That sounds lovely Judith. If you don't mind though, I'd also like to see if we could squeeze in a game of Truth and Dare if possible." 'And?' That didn't sound right. Now that she thought on it, it was actually 'or', which actually made a bit more sense. Regardless, this would provide the perfect opportunity to acquire the information she needed. And once Margaret knew what was bothering Judith, she could then deal with it accordingly.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Margaret Elisabeth Faust Character Portrait: Judith Lillian Cohen Character Portrait: Ruth Lillian Cohen

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Judith

"That sounds great to me, Margie!" Judith beamed, smiling happily at her partner. Even if it was a small part, she was glad that Margaret finally contributed to something in their sleepover. That was nice!

Judith took a look at her watch, checking the time. She then asked, "Hm, I think now would be a good time to go back home and get my things for the sleepover. I'll be back in half an hour, okay, Margie?"

When Margaret gave her assent, Judith said her goodbyes, and dashed off. She ducked into a secluded place for a moment, and turned herself invisible, using her invisibility to leap and jump to her house in quick order. It might be seen as a frivolous waste of power, true, but Judith didn't think it was that bad. It made the trip fairly quick, and ultimately, there was no harm done, right?

Besides, what was the worst that could happen?

Once Judith arrived home, she dismissed her invisibility, shimmering back into existence. She got inside soon enough, and started to head up to her room.

"Welcome back, Juddy!" her sister Ruth met her from the kitchen, and they started to walk up the stairs together. The younger girl's eyes drifted to the bag Judith carried. "What's that?"

"Oh, nothing much," Judith declared, shifting the bag to her other hand. She wasn't about to let her little sister get an early glimpse at one of her birthday presents. "Just some makeup I got at the mall."

Ruth raised an eyebrow at that, looking rather skeptical of that claim. But she didn't question it any further, at the same time. "Alright...if you say so. By the way, Mom's going out of town! To Honolulu, I think. She'll be gone til Tuesday, so it's just us the next couple days."

Judith paused at that, an annoyed sigh escaping her lips. "Ugh. Really? I have to babysit you in that case, and that means I can't have my sleepover with Margie tonight..."

"I'm old enough to look after myself," Ruth readily retorted, sticking her tongue out at her older sister. "And why don't you have the sleepover here, instead?"

Judith blinked, and a smile rapidly came across her face. "Oh! That's a great idea Ruth! Thanks!"

The green-haired girl eagerly hugged her sister, quite happy with this idea. Yes, that would work perfectly! They'd still have Ruth around, true...but that wouldn't be too bad, now would it?

"So...since I'm your favorite sister and all, can I join in on the sleepover too? Please?" Ruth eagerly inquired, once they separated, giving her sister a pleading stare to maximize her chances.

Judith pursed her lips, but she instantly knew she couldn't say no to that look. She sighed, and nodded her head yes, eliciting a happy cheer from her little sister.

"Fine, fine. Just don't bug us too much, Ruth," Judith ordered half-hardheartedly, smiling at her sister. Ruth scowled at that and crossed her arms.

"Hey, I'm not a little kid anymore! I can hang out with older girls like you and Margie just fine!" the purple-haired girl protested, glaring at her sister. Judith giggled at her overreaction, and reached over with a hand, ruffling her hair.

"I know, I know. You're a big girl now Ruth. I know I can trust you not to be too big a brat." she teased, sticking her tongue out.

Ruth pouted further at that, causing Judith to giggle even more. Her sister looked so cute when she was pretending to be angry!

"Anyway, I'd better call Margie now. Thanks for the idea, Sis!" Judith went on, smiling brightly at her little sister. Ruth smiled back and continued her way up the stairs, while Judith got out her cell phone, dialing Margaret's number.

"Hey, Margie?" Judith began, after the older girl answered. "Turns out my Mom is going out of town this weekend, and wants me to babysit Ruth while she's gone. Think we can have the sleepover at my place instead? If you don't mind?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Margaret Elisabeth Faust Character Portrait: Judith Lillian Cohen Character Portrait: Yuubey

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Margaret

Margaret wasn't entirely certain why Judith perked up so much suddenly, but bid her a temporary farewell without asking about it. The moment Judith was a suitable distance away, however, Margaret dashed outside and to the nearest payphone. As it turned out, with this being the year 2048, when almost literally everyone had cellphones, the nearest one was a good ways away. Regardless, Margaret made good time, and arrived shortly. Unable to find a coin in the immediate vicinity, she just used a compressed form of her shield to fake a few quarters.

"Hello, North Kalani High School." Came the receptionists voice. Perhaps receptionist wasn't actually her job title, but for the moment it was beyond Margaret to say exactly what it was instead. Either way, it was the only one the school had, and that would work nicely in Margaret's favor here.

"Hello Elizabeth, this is Margaret Faust. I'm not sure you remember me, but we've talked a few times while my mom sorted out some things in the office. I'm terribly sorry to have to ask you this, but would you mind looking something up for me?"

"Margaret Faust? Goodness, it's nice to hear from you again. I must say, I was a bit worried about you, last we spoke. How's your dad holdin' up?" Margaret never could quite identify the specific region from which Elizabeth's accent originated. It was quite clearly from somewhere in the southern United States, but that was about the best she could gather. More importantly, it seemed that the receptionist did indeed remember her.

"About as well as can be expected for someone in his position." Margaret answered truthfully. Actually the man retained a pretty high level of clarity for someone who had been locked up in a mental institution for nearly two years. "Anyway, I apologize if I seem a bit abrupt, but I'm running an important errand for a friend, and I really need your assistance."

"Sure thing, hon, what do you need?"

"Well, my friend is on the track team with Aolani Stevens, and, since their lockers in the changing room are so close together, she ended up accidentally taking Aolani's bag instead of her own. Presumably, Aolani has hers as well. Unfortunately, my friend's homework is in her bag, and some of it's due tomorrow. She can't go pick it up herself due to a prior engagement, so she asked me to instead." Margaret paused for effect, and also to take a breath. To help the illusion of being in a rush to help her friend, and arguably she actually was, she had said all that in one breath. "The problem is, I don't actually know where Aolani lives, and my friend's phone is in her bag, so I can't call her."

"So you want me to tell you, I gather?" Elizabeth asked. Thinking the question rhetorical, Margaret didn't answer. After what was perhaps a deliberately longer pause than was strictly necessary, she spoke again. "I'll tell you, but I'm not getting involved with anything clandestine, am I?"

"Actually," Margaret said rather flatly, "you'll probably be helping me bring about the inevitable heat death of the universe in a slightly expedited fashion, as compared to what it would be otherwise."

While she had expected the elderly woman to laugh at what she had just said, or perhaps merely be confused, she replied in complete seriousness with "But doesn't that operate on the assumption that we live in both a finite universe. as well as one in which the level of entropy increases faster than the rate of the value of maximum entropy?"

Margaret had nothing to say to this, and, after a moment, Elizabeth merely chuckled and told her the address, stating first though that Margaret did not hear it from her, and then telling her to have a nice day, and hanging up. And so, the Puella Magi made her way to Aolani's house.

The reason of course that she had asked for Aolani's address rather than Chiyo's were, firstly, that she could hardly ask for both without seeming suspicious, and that Aolani was probably the better bet due to it being easier to come up with an excuse to find her, she would be less likely to be a target than the other one, and because Aolani was likely to be harder for Yuubey to convince than her naive friend.

She arrived stealthily in the backyard to see the Incubator sitting on the edge of an upstairs windowsill, presumably spying upon the residents within, though of course that isn't how he'd put it. She wasn't surprised to see he was here. Actually, he was exactly what she had come for. When the thing went to jump down from the second floor, Margaret assumed that this meant whoever he was watching was going downstairs, the noirette moved quickly, darting out of the shadows to where Yuubey would have otherwise landed, and catching him by the throat.

Yuubey

The Incubator gave a weary-sounding sigh, though whether or not weariness was actually an emotion, and thus inaccessible to him, was anyone's guess. "Hello, Margaret Faust."

He considered explaining how he had already told them all at the food court that he'd be following Chiyo, something which Aolani had not technically warned him off of, alone did not necessarily mean unfollowed, and he had told them that he'd be waiting to grant a wish at a moment's notice. He considered trying to explain again to her the necessity of Magical Girls to combat the entropic forces of the universe and keep things running a while longer. He even considered just asking her to put him down.

Yuubey considered a lot of responses in addition to his greeting, all of which would have likely gotten nowhere, but didn't have the chance to actually use them, as Margaret's phone rang. Causing her to swiftly disappear out of the yard on the off chance that anyone could possibly have heard it, dragging him along as well.

Then, while he was fairly certain that it was rude by human standards to do so at this time, Margaret answered.

Margaret

"Hello?" Despite all the running about she'd been doing, as well as her irritation with Yuubey, Margaret's voice was as even and composed as ever.

"Hey, Margie?" Judith answered, "Turns out my Mom is going out of town this weekend, and wants me to babysit Ruth while she's gone. Think we can have the sleepover at my place instead? If you don't mind?"

"Not at all. I shall be over shortly, though I'll have to stop by my house first to collect my things. I had to run out and get something." Her hand that wasn't on the phone tightened, and Yuubey squirmed a bit. "Ah, sorry to be so brief, but it seems Yuubey wants to tell me something. It seems rather urgent. Talk to you later," yes, she was fairly certain that was the assurance that young people were using these days, "Goodbye." A click, and the phone was turned off and put away, leaving just the two of them standing just out of sight from the Malo household.

"You're crushing my neck, in case you didn't know that already." Margaret loosened her grip, ever so slightly. After a pause, in which neither said anything, the Incubator spoke again. "Margaret, this isn't really in a stage where you can do anything about it. They're just considering their options at the moment, and I agreed to keep my distance for now unless called for. While I still can't claim to fully understand your motivation in doing these things, surely you see that this is a time where interfering would be detrimental to both our goals."

Well, he was right about that much at least. He probably wouldn't do anything until called upon, she had never known him to lie outright before, and Aolani had seemed as though she were truly going to give this a great deal of thought. More importantly however, the sleepover plans had changed, and there was no way that she was bringing him in a situation where he and Ruth would be in the same building for an extended period of time, with the possibility of him slipping away from her.

So, Margaret released her grip on Yuubey, letting him fall nimbly the rest of the way to the ground, where he gave a catlike stretch and plodded off back towards the house without so much as a backward glance.

Margaret had somewhere to be as well, and so she set off for home.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Margaret Elisabeth Faust Character Portrait: Judith Lillian Cohen

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Judith

"Alright, see you later, Margie!" Judith cheerily replied, as her friend hung up. She stowed her phone away, and continued the journey to her room, opening up her bedroom door.

Her room was much the same as she had left it that very morning. The bed was unmade (something she normally did, but forgot to do in her rush early this morning), but other than that, there weren't any flaws in the room. Indeed, her bedroom showed a great deal about its resident. She had a few posters about displaying pictures from Disney movies, old and new. She even had an entire dvd self that was filled with Disney films, as well as other animated motion pictures.

Some might have called her childish for still liking 'cartoons', but Judith loved animation, all the same. She wasn't entirely certain about most foreign animation, truthfully; in fact, she was rather iffy about 'anime' and stuff like that. The less savory aspects of that kind of animation kind of put her off. But American animation, especially feature films made by Disney and other similar studios, she absolutely adored them. She had grown up watching those sorts of movies as a child, and that obsession continued with her to this day.

It probably said a lot about her, come to think. And it especially explained her bubbly attitude. Or at least, Judith thought so.

After studying her room for a bit, Judith set about tidying up her room, so that it'd be picture perfect for her sleepover with Margie tonight. It had been a long time since they had slept over at her own house, and Judith wasn't about to disappoint! Her room would be absolutely perfect for Margie, no matter what!

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Margaret Elisabeth Faust

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Margaret

As Margaret walked to her house, she took out and examined her phone. It wasn't a terribly impressive device, particularly when some phones nowadays had the same computing power as some small nations, but it wasn't meant to be. It served its purpose as a telecommunications device, and almost literally nothing else. This archaic relic of the early 2000's was her old prepaid flip phone. Seeing as it was made embarrassingly out-of-date by modern smartphones a while back, the price had significantly decreased, hence why Margaret's mother had been able to buy her one. It was also quite commonly used by criminals who needed a cheap phone that could be quickly disposed of.

But that was neither here nor there. The reason she had used the payphone to call the school was that she had wanted to conserve her minutes, and to keep it off any record connected to her, in case anyone went snooping through her phone or something. Her mother probably didn't have time for that even if she had the inclination, but it was still better to be cautious.

Arriving home, the noirette quickly stowed the phone away in her pocket, grabbed her overnight bag, containing pretty much just a toothbrush and a change of clothes, and was out the door again.

After that, she made her way rather briskly to Judith's house. It still took a little while, they were in different parts of town after all, but she made good time. The few minutes for which she slipped into the alleyways and put her magically enhanced speed to use probably didn't hurt either. The longer she took to get there, the more likely it became that Judith would ask where she had needed to run off to, and Margaret did not need something else to lie to her about.

When she did arrive on the Cohens' doorstep, Margaret gave the customary three knocks on the door, then crossed her arms behind her back to wait.