The sun rose, as light shone through the windows of Giselle Mercury's own room; while small, it was rather comfy to an extent. Giselle stretched her arms out like a cat; yawning loudly. What was most surprising was that she had managed to actually sleep for the first time in fifty years—though it wasn't the best sleep ever, it was at least a start.
She had to sleep away from La Pucelle—all of the advisors did. She lived in a two-story wooden apartment building, built thirty years ago; there were tin mailboxes by the door. A shower and flush toilet included, grudgingly, in each apartment, and one six-mat room with a tiny sink. It was twenty minutes' walk to the nearest bus stop and thus La Pucelle itself. The rent ran from fifty to sixty Jewels depending on the room (including upkeep, utilities, and neighborhood association fees.)
Deftly slamming her fist against the alarm clock, which read "11:00 AM" on her bedside table in an attempt to halt its incessant beeping, Giselle slowly stumbled to her feet. Straightening her white kimono with elegant crimson phoenix patterns adorned upon it, which was left a mess, she prepared for another humdrum day wherein nothing of note happens as she gently closed the door, exiting the room.
This day was one of those rare days where Giselle fell out of her usual schedule of waking up at the crack of dawn as to achieve a healthy start to the day, and as such, was still highly exhausted from the night before. Dark bags were under her eyes, which were half-open, and she could barely keep stable footing, using the wall as a grip. Perhaps such a feeling of fatigue would vanish the minute she freshened up.
Stepping into the bathroom, Giselle disrobed, flinging her traditionally feminine clothing to the glistening white floor. Sliding the shower door open, Giselle slowly turned the tap of the shower on. A cold sensation ran down her body, before such iciness became warmer. The feeling of the water running down her back at a high pressure was refreshing. Steam rose from the shower, as Giselle Mercury sighed in a sense of completeness and renewal.
The samurai known as Zanma Zaitsuhara had also awoken—Giselle had let him stay in her apartment free of charge. Truth be told, Zanma had never seen her conversing with anyone with a happy tone. The sight of her reading a book—the very action of her reading a book—had created a wall around her. Because of that, though they had known each other for a little more than ten years since they met up in the Sengoku Era, they had never exchanged any really meaningful words with each other until now. They were just friends until now—and while he'd always admired her, he was suspicious of her; maybe she had some ulterior motive. Despite that, he placed her absolute faith in her and wouldn't let her down.
"Done with my shower," Giselle said, stepping out of the bathroom, naked. Her breasts which were proud of their tremendous mass bounced up and down and Zanma's eyes were unintentionally pinned onto them. She had no shame, as blood flooded out from Zanma's nose; it was only natural, that was the state of how she was born; her white body was exposed.
"Move aside. I can't reach my clothes." Giselle pointed at the chest of drawers behind Zanma. She appeared to be more annoyed by her wet hair than she was concerned about a man seeing her.
"L-Lady Mercury, please dress yourself...it is shameful for a woman to stand naked before a man she is not wed to..." Zama shrieked, cowering.
"I plan to."
"Y-You plan to!?" Zanma kept his eyes away from her naked figure.
"Would you prefer I didn't?" Giselle tilted her head in a confused manner; which was quite obviously to try and rile him up.
"Why have you not already!?" Zanma remained baffled.
"I forgot to bring some in with me."
"Then please wrap a towel around yourself or something, Lady Mercury!"
"That's no fun." Giselle continued to tease him.
Zanma didn't know how she could be so blasé about it. It was plain as day there was no point in arguing the point, so he scooted out of the way, and plunked himself down in front of the bookshelf, studiously counting the spines in front of him, trying to focus his gaze and his thoughts.
He'd never seen a naked woman before. It wasn't quite what he'd imagined. Zanma still maintained he had pretty grounded ideas about what it would be like, but what he'd imagined was not this...stark nudism, this frank indifference.
"Clean clothes...you suppose white is better?" Giselle asked in a monotone manner.
"I have not the foggiest clue..." Zanma muttered.
"All my underwear has patterns." Giselle nonchalantly mentioned to him, getting him all flustered.
"That has nothing to do with me!" Zanma shrieked loudly, trying to focus more on the books.
"I'm just asking for advice. No need to get so loud. Honestly, it's like you're going through menopause." Clothing rustled, as the image of her bouncy breasts was burned into Zanma's brain while she continued, "Oh, Zanny, you aren't turned on by me being naked, are you?"
"If I hypothetically was, it would not be my fault, Lady Mercury..." He continued to hide his face. Giselle seemed incapable of seeing the situation from Zanma's point of view. It felt as if it was impossible for a human being to understand another; maybe this was a notion that he should just learn to accept.
"Don't worry, you can look now." Giselle coyly replied; as Zanma turned around, he noticed that she was still in her underwear, as well as a short, sleeveless, loose fitting light-black nightgown which was long enough to fall between her navel and her upper thighs; she wasn't even wearing socks.
"What are you trying to accomplish here...!?" Zanma was stunned by her beauty; immediately trying to hide his embarrassment.
"What do you think? I'm rewarding you for your help today. Be happy."
"...................." This "reward" was baffling. He'd rather have an apology.
"Be happy!" Giselle grumbled to him; obviously annoyed that she received no reaction from the samurai.
"W-Why are you angry?" Zanma was still confused.
"Manners dictate you express an opinion!"
"A-an opinion?" He didn't know how to answer. "Y-you have a great body...?"
"...pathetic." She gave Zanma the sort of look usually reserved for rotting refuse, but with a trace of pity. "You'll always be a virgin."
"...I do not understand what you mean..."
"Try not to spit. Virginity is catching." Giselle was obviously very, very, pissed off.
"....What are you talking about..."
"Ugh, don't worry," she said in a rough tone. As she spoke, she took a white shirt out from her chest of drawers, and put it on over the light blue bra. It seemed ridiculous to count the books on her shelf again, so he just watched. Giselle finished buttoning her shirt, and proceeded to don a white cardigan on top of it. Apparently she planned to fully dress her upper body before putting anything else on the lower half. Everyone had different ways of getting dressed. Giselle did not seem at all concerned that he was watching. Actually, she seemed to have deliberately placed herself in front of him.
"You seem angered, Lady Mercury..." Zanma was troubled; as Giselle indifferently began taking off her cardigan. "Finally you had some clothes on – why are you taking them off again?"
"I forgot to dry my hair."
"You seem to be lacking in common sense..."
"Don't be rude. What if you hurt my feelings?" Giselle snarked back at Zanma; it was clear now that he'd soured her mood. Her dryer looked expensive; she took pains towards her appearance. Looking her over again, even her underwear was carefully chosen. It was odd how what had, a few hours before, been a major focus controlling a significant portion of his thoughts now seemed like little more than a few scraps of cloth. Zanma shed a silent tear inside; a samurai had to be focused on their battles, not romance.
With her hair finally dry, she put the dryer down, and began putting clothes on again. Since she'd put them on over wet hair, her first outfit was damp, so she hung the shirt and cardigan up on hangers, and began hunting through her chest of drawers for something else. Hurrying up after realizing the futility of it all, Giselle dressed herself quickly as she thought to herself, "Goddammit, Buckaroo Banzai, what the fuck do I need to do? Rip my clothes off and throw myself on top of you?"
"Alright, let's just go. I've got a big responsibility." As Zanma looked at her once more, Giselle was now wearing a white tank top, a white jacket, and a white flare skirt.
Now, the true test began—that was trying to introduce a samurai from the Sengoku era to a bunch of teenagers who probably never picked up a history book in their small lives. Opening the door to Team Daybreak's own gathering place, Giselle, who had taken Zanma's hand so that he wouldn't get distracted by the sights and sounds of the new world, had pulled the samurai into the room. Small and cluttered, with several desks and cushions littered about, while not high-tech or impressive, the unofficial headquarters for the team was just rather comfy, if not nothing else.
"If this all goes well, a trip to Seven to eat crab is in order." Giselle mused, adding on, "And you're coming too because goddammit I need to do something with you." "...Isn't crab sacred—"
"Didn't you know?" Giselle smiled (yes, really). "Crab is delicious."
As Tsuruko Sejren remained resting on her bed, she heard the same beeping sound that reverberated within her ears the first time she had joined the academy—as a flat screen in front of her manifested, displaying on it, the information:
"IMPORTANT NOTICE: YOU, TSURUKO SEJREN, ARE GIVEN A NOTICE TO MEET UP IN ROOM 101."
Sighing, Tsuruko opened her eyes as she rolled off of her bed; thankfully, Rosa wasn't there to jump on her to wake her up; so she could peacefully roll out of bed and not get up for twenty minutes.
Tsuruko Sejren was a master of Depression Parkour.
Finally reaching Room 101, Tsuruko had to drag herself there in a half-asleep state. In front of her was a young woman, who possessed a fair complexion and lithe build; her figure was akin to that of a doll's; absolutely perfect and stunning. She had white and smooth skin; honestly, to Tsuruko, it appeared almost like she was made of porcelain. Her light red hair was arranged neatly—parted in the middle with a large clump of hair that reached down to her nose; the sides are fixed with two messy pigtails that draped the sides of her head, and to finish it off, her hair was fixed with two cross-shaped ribbons. Surprisingly, she didn't dress in the standard uniform of La Pucelle; rather, she was clad in a rather frilly set of clothing mostly red and orange, with white thigh-high socks adorning her legs.
Without a doubt, this was Aeris Lugonis of the Byakkō dorm. "Hello, Tsuruko. No doubt you received my call."
While she was still blunt and too formal, there was something about Aeris that put Tsuruko off.
"...Y-Yes, I did...You're normally reading a book right now and not saying much...This is really weird..." Tsuruko stuttered as she began to back away slightly;
A smile formed on Aeris' lips as she gave Tsuruko some food for thought. "...Okay, Tsuruko, allow me to bestow upon you a riddle. I am everywhere and know everything about mankind, but I know nothing about people. What am I?"
"....uh..." Tsuruko tapped her own left cheek repeatedly as a sign of thought; as all sorts of possibilities popped up in her mind. "...Excellen is Excellen!"
"Not bad." Aeris' half smile extended into a beaming grin. An aura of violet surrounded her body, immersing it in pure energy, as a burst of light was released from her figure—revealing an all-too-familiar person. If she had just been a simple woman, those around would not have felt such an alien sense of awe. The aura rolling off of her was that of innumerable things mixed chaotically together... of something that was not human.
"Hi, Tsuruko!" Who was before her was an attractive woman with a youthful, but mature appearance. Her figure was notably voluptuous, and her height complimented that further. Her hair was long, and was a tinged shade of gold, with sparkling blue eyes; her features were accented by her kind expression. She had large, E-cupped breasts, wide and womanly hips, a shapely rear, a thin waist, long, beautiful legs, and a perfect physique. The woman was wearing white trenchcoat with blue lining over a dark blue top-skirt with golden lining that exposed much cleavage and ended at her thighs, along with this, she wore a pair of dark blue stilettos
"...Wait, Excellen. You were Aeris all along?" Tsuruko was absolutely dumbfounded—how did she not pick up the hints?
"Well, just in case I couldn't get into your team, I made a thought projection and wiped the minds of the teachers in La Pucelle so that they wouldn't get suspicious! Isn't that great?" Obviously, she couldn't comprehend the situation...
"...uh..." Tsuruko was remained speechless—and she was about to get the voice knocked out of her.
"Also, I'm the Exalted One!" Excellen informed her in a cheery tone, so nonchalantly and casually that it completely flew over Tsuruko's head.
"Okay—whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?" Tsuruko choked on her words.
"Okay, so, in the beginning, there was only a churning turmoil of chaos. At the heart of chaos, where all things became one, appeared an egg. Having tumbled from the vortex, the egg gave rise to yours truly. I made two giant demons out of nothing! Time and space began to form, and from Varian and Origin, they made the universe! When the universe was made, I went back to sleep....aaaaaaaaaaand now here I am!" She was just so...energetic about it all.
Tsuruko took a moment to catch her breath, accepting the fact so easily. "Why is the Exalted One so happy?"
"Let me explain something to you, Tsuruko! It goes like this: I don't look like this. I don't look like anything you'd recognize. You can't see me. I don't sound like this, I don't sound like anything you'd recognize. You see, I'm beyond your experience. I take this form because you're comfortable with it, it makes sense to you!"
Tsuruko inhaled and exhaled, trying to calm herself. "...Ooookay..."
Excellen cheerfully took Tsuruko's hand, as she began to run off—it took a moment for Tsuruko to realize what The Exalted One—no, Excellen, had just did. "C'mon, let's go eat!"
Tsuruko ate some dinner in a local burger shop with Excellen. "…What is this?" Tsuruko picked at her food in thought.
"It's the new salsa burger meal. Waaaaaaaaah, they tried too hard to make it unique and ended up making the flavor way too strong. And it's spicy!! I can see why the standard large burger never stops being the best seller." She paused for a moment as she teased, "I've gotta say, Gary Straights is quite handsome, don't you think?"
"I-I-I don't like him..." Tsuruko hid her embarrassment behind her purple bangs—scarlet came over her cheeks.
Excellen gave a cheerful smile as Tsuruko held her head and wailed. "Of course you do! But with the life you live, you can't afford to get embarrassed over every little thing like that."
"How can you say that!?"
"...Was that rude? I'm sorry. I'm rather careless about human customs." said Excellen as she lightly shook her blond hair that reached her ankles.
"Gyahahahahaha, eat, Tsuruko! Don't just sit there. I'm paying, so you might as well eat as much as you can, right?" Excellen must have not liked spicy foods because she seemed to give her tongue a rest with a bite of salad or sip of soda between each bite of the salsa burger. Since she did not seem to like that kind of food, she may have been won over by the temptation of ordering a new item on the menu.
Tsuruko grabbed the wrapper for her hamburger while making sure not to get any red sauce on her fingers. "…So what did you want to talk about, anyway?"
"…I wanted to ask you something." Excellen was serious all of a sudden; her gaze focusing intently upon Tsuruko.
"...What's up?" said Tsuruko as she put ketchup on a nugget.
"How come you don't discriminate against me, even though I'm...what I am?" Her words were filled with doubt, glancing down at the tray in front of her.
"…Huh? Do you think it would be better if I did?" Tsuruko turned Excellen's question right back at her as she threw a nugget in her mouth.
"No…I'd hate that."
"Then it's good that I don't, right?" Tsuruko continued to smile.
"Yeah, but it's just…no matter where I go, that's just the way it is—" Excellen began to turn away, saddened at this moment.
"Who the heck decided that?" Tsuruko rudely interrupted; refusing to have her friend believe the words of these fools.
"Humans, demons, whatever, there are people you like and ones you don't. That's all there is to it." Tsuruko made a supportive gesture with her fist. "If I was you, I don't think I could stand being liked or disliked for something I can't do anything about."
"…Yeah." Excellen smiled as she battled the salsa burger even though it seemed clear she had already lost.
"You can't change what you are and how you've been born, got that? Excellen is Excellen, not this "Exalted One", understand? We'll always be friends!" Tsuruko extended her hand to Excellen in a reverse grip, with Excellen tapping Tsuruko's fist on the top; Tsuruko's fist tapping Excellen's on the bottom before they bumped fists.
"Yeah. You're absolutely right." A radiant smile formed on Excellen's face, as she took Tsuruko's hands. "Thanks, Tsuruko!"