May 8th, 2098

18:27:46 Noriko || Someone in London was going to die. Our hero [the incensed Princess Sparklefists] knew that for sure. She knew that because she was going to kill someone. The reason for her desire to inflict murder upon murder: Seer Predicts Doom! Thousands Sure To Die. More details on page 7. Noriko hated newspapers; this was the reason why. Really though right now she especially hated herself. The Quibbler had the whole text of her prophecy and had it published right there on page 7. Really, page 7: so subtle of them. Our hero also noticed [to her dismay] that her own copy of her prophecy, the written one the kind old man had given her, was missing. She didnt know when or where, clearly it had gotten into hands that recognized it [or saw profit in it]. Nori needed to talk to someone: she just didnt know who, right now she was settling for storming down the main thoroughfare of Diagon Alley in a huff with the offending newspaper clenched in her hands. Yes: someone was going to die. ||

18:59:59 Hippolytus checked both ways as he and Meredith arrived at the alley mouth between Diagon and Knockturn Alley. It wasn’t a terribly busy hour on either street, which was probably why the two Aurors had chosen this particular time to run their errand on the darker of the two. Botts, sporting winter gray, down to the hat he wore, was about as evident as a swift on the wall as he peeked out into Diagon Alley, a large cloth bag under one arm like a protected child. No one but the shop keeper and the already sketchy denizens of Knockturn had seen them depart from the bookstore, but reentering civilized society was a little riskier, should they run into one of the apparent THRONGS of people with whom Meredith was acquainted. Deeming them safe, he stepped out onto the walk and jostled his package with another, more innocuous one he’d bought earlier. He looked to Meredith and shrugged a little. Well? Did they look innocent? Good. Onward!

19:08:25 [Porthman] To Botts’ left, Meredith was comfortable and happy as could be – at least, that was the expression he wore. He didn’t look half as paranoid as his coworker—who seemed terrified of being spotted, like a child sneaking out their window after midnight. It was only coincidence that he spotted Noriko (almost unrecognizable in her storm cloud) through the drifting crowd. It was far more deliberate when he called out to her as they exited the (proverbially) darker of the two roads. “Sakada!” Mop chimed, trying to drag her out of the mission she seemed to be gunning through. “Heyyy,” his arm went over his head to wave her down. Botts was spared a playful grin thereafter. He just looked far too worried. As if reading were a crime!

19:22:17 Noriko || Our hero almost missed it: the cry of her name. Sakada? Nobody called her Sakada; only newspaper articles and box scores. She wouldve just kept going except for the sonorous lovely Welshfulness of the voice. Oh that voice! Nori turned to look at Mop and Botts: still very agitated but she smiled through it. “Mop! Hippopolopolis!” Our hero waved the hand with the crumpled paper and skipped off to join them. No bad mood was excuse to miss a chance to hang off Mop or to tease Botts, two of her very favourite things to do. “Hiii!”That wasnt so eloquent; hopefully they werent too wrapped up in very important Auror stuff for her to be a tagalong. Nori quickly stashed the offending tabloid in one of the pockets of her characteristic cheery tomato red bridge coat: that whole mess didnt need to mean anything right now. It wasnt important. No, it was very important, just that she didnt want toact like it was important. ||

19:28:10 Hippolytus pursed his lips and lifted an amiable brow at the teasing smirk from Port. He was probably a little on edge, but all things considered, it wasn’t going to hurt to be a little more careful than usual. He wasn’t a favorite with their higher ups right now. He stopped when Meredith did, turning to see that they were flagging down Miss Sakada. Hip felt his face flush with blood before he could try to suppress it and caught one hand instinctively smoothing his tie. “Erm… Hippolytus, actually,” he murmured, more a tic now than actually expecting to ever correct the woman in her stubborn mispronunciation of his name. “Good afternoon, Miss Sakada,” he offered next and very politely. But now he couldn’t help but wonder if she was among those he was lead to believe were all in the know about mother…flipping… Cyrus Valen.

19:36:43 [Porthman] “Hippopolopolis.” Meredith’s eyebrows lifted in good humor as Noriko made her landing. He spared Botts of any further scrutiny by dipping over to his cling-on to plant a kiss on her cheek. If Noriko were anyone else, he might have already snuck his hand into her pocket and teased her for how miserable she’d looked moments ago. Mop had some amount of respect for and tact toward his favorite feminine companion. He kept his hands (mostly) to himself and didn’t poke at the matter (yet). “Botts and I were just finished with an errand.” The younger of the Auror tag-team boasted. “We’ve got nothing to do, but… do you want to tag along anyway? Where were you going in a hurry?” It mattered little if they had an agenda or not – Mop cleared the table.

19:49:45 Noriko || “Aaalways want to tag along Mop!” Noriko mock-swooned to Porthman’s affections; there was no missing either how Hippolytus blushed at her approach, make mental check so she could be sure to rake him through coals about it later. “I wasnt doing anything important; I was in a hurry to murder the editor-in-chief of The Quibbler, thats the only thing. In hindsight a better plan is probably not murdering her. Him? I dont even know who it is.” Soooo our hero realized that was a very awkward place to stop talking so she continued in a very different direction, not skipping a single beat: “Soooo how was your day?” Yes, much better; our hero [the intrepid Princess Sparklefists] was a smoov operator! ||

19:59:17 Hippolytus did, without thinking, look anywhere but directly at Noriko. It wasn’t that he expected she’d mention anything, but he knew she was probably amused by him anyhow. He got over the nervous tic soon enough when she mentioned that she was on her way to do murder – hey, what a coincidence! No, but really. He lifted an eyebrow and smiled a little at her. “The Quibbler? God, is that still in print? What did they write?” One of his favorite pastimes in school had been to go back through the backlogs of the off-the-wall paper and read all of the predictions from years past for boundless amusement – it probably would have been more of a laugh with any friends, but there it is. That was probably what he got for being one of the few Hufflepuffs who wasn’t busy trying to NOT be in Hufflepuff. In any event, the paper brought back memories and he couldn’t see how anything it printed could possibly damaging enough to merit homicide. “We’ve been hitting the shops,” he said, almost distractedly.

20:09:15 [Porthman] “Sounds scandalous.” Mop teased and reached around Hippolytus’s back to sneak their package away from him. “Oh no, murder away. Botts is the best guy to have around if you’re plotting murder.” He joked as he disentangled himself from Noriko. “So I leave him in your care for your quest. I’m going to… pop home and drop this off.” Mop insisted the little parcel that had – hopefully – changed hands by now. “But I’ll meet youuuu… lunch, anyone?”

20:25:29 Noriko || Mop was already off to do important Auror things; Noriko was very used to that by now. She blew him a kiss: “Lunch! Anywhere you like. I’ll buy,” Then with Mop taking his leave with all his feminine charms our hero produced the newest issue of The Quibbler from her pocket. She didnt think Hip even knew about her but since it was now public knowledge and anyway he had asked, “Seer predicts doom, thousands sure to die; they published a, my, prophecy.” Well if he hadnt known before he knew now: “Its extremely irresponsible to do that. Its much more irresponsible than my murdering her; I’m still actually not convinced I dont need to do that. Would I have diplomatic immunity?” ||

20:38:50 Hippolytus startled when Mop went reaching behind him all sneaky-like, hopping forward a tick, then giving his partner a very strange look and a murmured: “Hands, Port! – good god.” But he did hand over his bags without so much fanfare. He was NOT sure what Meredith was off to do, but he expected it would be locking himself away with the book HIP had just purchased. He wrinkled his nose a little, but looked back to Noriko with a shy smile. “Hn? Oh…” He leaned over to get an eager look at the paper she’d produced to illustrate her righteous anger. “A prophecy – oh, no kiddng? Huh. Wait – you predicted thousands to die? When the hell was this? Have you been contacted by the Ministry? And uh… no, murder is murder, I’m afraid.” He leaned back out of her personal space and narrowed one eye. “Now… about thousands dying…?”

20:47:09 Noriko || “What? No, I didnt predict thousands to die. I dont know what I predicted completely. Prophecy doesnt work like that. Some of it sounded maybe like it was bad, apocalyptic even? But I dont even know completely who it is who was supposed to hear it; I have a theory that its Minister Brighton but thats all I know so far.” Since she had already spilled a whole lot about this she opened the paper to page 7 [ugh] to show him the actual text of it. Our hero ran her fingers through the lines quickly: “See? Sins of the Mother, payment in blood, ancient cloth, crows pick the bones of the dead, deaf to the world; I didnt predict thousands to die anywhere. What if I just kill her a little, is that more acceptable? I dont know the laws here very well.” ||

21:01:50 Hippolytus grimaced apologetically. “I guess that’s why I’m not in the Department of Mysteries,” he joked. He only knew that when prophecies came out, they ended up in neat little packages in the Ministry until someone came to claim. Otherwise, he’d never taken part in the processing, or heard a live one whatsoever. Not a REAL live one, anyway. “I kind of thought all prophecies were a bit apocalyptic, to be honest,” he admitted, but leaned over again to read what the Seer showed him. HE lightly pinched one side of the paper, a little distracted by all of the skewed articles and pictures, but finally focusing in. As Noriko read, he raised his brows a little. “A little grim, I suppose… but no specified thousands… You really saw all this?” He read it over again, then wrinkled his nose and shook his head. “Oh, don’t worry about it – it’s The Quibbler! Does anyone get their actual news from this? Look.” He flipped a few pages to where he knew he’d find the Divination section. He grinned a bit and read aloud: “ ‘If a witch or wizard sees two orange cats today, they can expect a lot of Nargle interference – beware of falling objects and rebounding spells!’ I mean…really? I used to love these in school…”

21:17:22 Noriko || Noriko nodded but tacked onto it a partial mea culpa: “I did see it; I think I did at least. I dont remember- I never remember. There was a witness, I lost two minutes of time and I said those exact words; he wrote them down for me. Then Mop took me to the Department of Mysteries so they could do whatever it is that they do there.” Our hero was calming down quite a lot actually, the homicidal impulse was less overpowering now. Still it was annoying; she’d tried so hard to be responsible this time. This wasnt the first time and she was doing it right but somehow this Quibbler knew all about it anyway. “They even published me by name. I dont know how they know that. I’m just shaken up Hippollywog; I tried to keep this under my coat. Its unfortunate that it got out. Information like that is dangerous. I still dont even know for sure who’s supposed to know it.” ||

21:20:33 Hanna yawned a little as she looked at the selection of sweets from the shop at Diagon Alley, which just so happened had been introduced to her by Xia not too long ago. Hanna had come back for some butterbeer bonbons which had been great. After she had spent an hour there, the woman made her way out to the street, the bags she had acquired hung lightly from her fingers as she walked, weaving through the crowd of the street outside. The blond thought, that perhaps she should get something to eat before she headed home, seeing as there was little to eat at her mother's house. This realization made her think that perhaps she should buy some food to have at the house while she was there for the Conclave.

21:27:36 [Hippolytus] “By name?” A crease formed between his brows for a moment. “Well, certainly that’s questionable. Anyway, if you delivered the prophecy to the Department of Mysteries, it’s somewhat their property as well and I think you can trust them to guard it jealously. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re buying these papers up or leaning on the editor. I wouldn’t worry too terribly yet….” He handed her her paper back, “Hip-Hippolytus,” he corrected, but now with a slight grin. “Just wait it out for now. They might revoke it next issue and say they made it up… you know, if the right people from the Ministry come knocking about it. Likely it’ll come out again anyway if someone figures out who its for. Even the Department of Mysteries can’t sit too well on a claimed prophecy.” He jammed his hands into his pockets and sighed, “It sounds to me like whoever wrote it down for you made a copy for themselves. Not altogether uncommon a thing, I’m afraid. Probably tried making a mint off of it, but I have no idea how much this paper could have possibly offered.”

21:46:08 Noriko || Of course he was right; Hiphopalong was an Auror and [Hiphopalong, that was a good one, store for later] knew England. Our hero hadn’t either of those advantages going for her. “If that’s what happened I’m more worried about him selling it to others, how many papers do you have in this country? No, don’t answer that. Let’s think happy thoughts instead; I’m sure there won’t be dire consequences for this later.” Noriko wasn’t sure at all actually: last time she had a prophecy there were dire consequences and she hadn’t even been informed about it. Stupid war. Let’s not think about the war either, the war is dumb. “Oh! Mop isn’t here. You could tell me all the sordid details about his past. I imagine he used to wrangle dragons while shirtless and also drunk; he can’t hold his alcohol. It just took one of the girly pink drinks with the little umbrellas and then he was incoherent. Are you hungry Hiphopalong? I’m hungry; let’s find something. I’ll buy.” There our hero was, her natural bouncy good nature already restored! ||

21:56:19 Hippolytus had indeed, opened his mouth to reply helpfully with undoubtedly a lengthy list of papers that Noriko’s prophecy could be sold to, but stopped himself when she changed her mind about wanting to know. Understandable – there wasn’t much to do right now but wait and let the Department of Mysteries do its usual bullying. He didn’t even have half a breath to respond much at all before the bubbly woman was sweeping on to the next topic. Hip had to laugh a little, looking down and rubbing the side of his forehead. “You could always call me Hip, you know,” he said, but when he looked up again, he was smirking a bit about Meredith. “I don’t know if I have any juicy details that you wouldn’t already know – I might just be the one picking your brains. I’ve NEVER seen him drunk after all and he doesn’t like talking about himself much.” It was a new and fascinating morsel that Port couldn’t hold his alcohol worth a damn. No wonder the man barely touched the stuff. Hip, on the other hand, could probably drink his own weight and be fine… which said something substantial about how much he drank that one summer at the Ministry Picnic… “Why don’t we go to the pub then; I’m in the mood for fish. And don’t be silly – I love excuses to put a dent in my fortune.”

22:09:36 Noriko || Worst kept secret on the Japanese national quidditch team: our hero also couldn’t hold her drink at all. That wasnt probably surprising to most people, her stature alone said she wasn’t going to drink like a fish. Speaking of fish, “I do like fish! I don’t know why the English insist that it must be drowned in grease and cooked until its ruined though. Very rude doing that to perfectly innocent fish.” Nori was being a little bit facetious: she knew it was clearly because British fish tasted like everything else in Britain so they had to hide the flavour under bread and oil. That sounded rude to say though. “I’m glad you said that, Hip; they dont actually pay me very much.” Was she supposed to argue with such a generous offer? Nonono, our hero only made about seven galleons weekly; she needed to be careful about her money in case she dropped her wand again somewhere and there weren’t any heroic brethren around to help her retrieve it. ||

22:21:38 Hippolytus pocketed his hands and cocked out an elbow for Noriko to take when he turned them towards the pub in question. “Ruined? Oh, my dear, you wouldn’t make it an hour in Scotland if you aren’t a fan of fried things. I spent a summer there and I have to say, the notion grew on me – but I hear they’ll poach fish for you at the Kettle if you ask nicely.” As they neared the bustling pub, he turned to her with raised brows and hands as she used his proper nickname, “Heyyy!” he said in cheeky celebration then, laughing, pocketed his hands again. “Well, an Auror’s check isn’t all that impressive, but when your family name is Botts and some aunt who hates her own sons rather spitefully dies, you’re going to be buying people rounds for a while, that’s all.” He swung the door open for them and waved her in ahead of him.

22:36:13 Noriko || “Oh. OH. Ohh. Is it, are you that Botts?” Our hero hadn’t put those pieces together at all; she hadnt gotten past making clever plays on his first name let alone start thinking about his last name. Anyway she didn’t like Every Flavour Beans, they were a novelty she hadn’t any appreciation for. Noriko’s adventurous desires rested in places other than eating things that tasted of paper pulp. “Poached fish, fried fish, baked fish. What do I have to do to get real fish? Give it to us raw,” Nori smiled playfully at Hip: “and wriggling.” Except actually don’t; raw fish was delicious, living fish was squicky and smelled like fish. [Obviously.] “I can also settle for fish cooked on the grill; that’s only moderately uncivilized. So long as nobody tries to put tartar on it.” ||

22:43:35 Hippolytus shrugged demurely. “Guilty. But don’t blame me for the damn beans. That was another branch of the family tree, but by Merlin’s damned beard, it’s the only one anyone ever talks about.” Grinning, he’d lead on to the counter – he wasn’t a fan of booths while in a pub. “I think I could count on one hand the number of times I got a bean with an actually edible flavor and only two of those were anything resembling candy. I’d swear to God, the last bean I ever tried was ‘defeat’ flavored and that was it. No more.” Once they had procured seats, he leaned forward on the counter, waiting to be noticed (with Noriko there, the wait time was probably halved). “Raw? Sushi, right? I have….never had sushi. I could never get over the notion.” When the tender asked what they’d have, Hip was still grinning a bit as he requested “proper fish and chips” and then “some of the least cooked fish they had on hand” for Noriko. “And a witch’s hat and whatever the lady would like to drink.” A witch’s hat turned out to simply be firewhiskey floated on a butterbeer and set to sparking green sparks until it was drunk down completely.

22:58:19 Noriko || “Sashimi,” Noriko corrected gently, “Sushi is anything made with sumeshi. Um, rice with vinegar. It can just be vegetables, or it can be cooked, or it could even be defeat-flavoured beans rolled up with sumeshi.” That sounded awful; Nori knew the taste of defeat and she didnt like it. It wasnt at all like the taste of heroism [which our hero knew very well], the sweetest taste of them all. Nori shrugged out of her bridge coat [underneath, a black and sky blue leopard-printed cocktail dress: subtlety] then laid it on her stool before climbing to a seat. “Your biggest strongest heroicest drink!” She looked rather full of pride at her order: dont tell her that heroicest isnt a word, it’ll break her poor little heart into pieces. “And fried gummy worms, do you fry gummy worms here? Hippolylollipop was just telling me all about what defeat tastes like so I think he needs something that tastes more cheerful.” ||

23:08:15 [Hippolytus] “Sorry – shashi-sha- that’s not right. Did you say sashimi? But sushi is not sashimi…or- wait, hold on…” With a grin, he lifted his witch’s hat and downed it with a handful of swallows, banged the empty tankard down on the counter, then rattled off: “So all sashimi is sushi, but not all sushi is sashimi, because all that makes sushi sushi is that it’s made with sumeshi, so sumeshi and sashimi is sushi.” He lifted his arms as if he’d just scored a winning goal. “Eh?” Meanwhile, the tender was loading as many colors of alcohol and flavor as he could fit into a double tall drink. “You be careful with that,” Hip warned. “I’m sure they’ll fry whatever you want here – the cook’s a Scot, after all. Might even fry up defeat, but please don’t. I feel like good Dover sole is plenty cheerful enough for me.”

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