Six teenaged humans are gathered around a table in a bar, with school supplies, worksheets and a number of books. Four of them, all girls, are wearing identical uniforms in white, blue and red. A fifth girl is wearing a similar uniform with the blue and red changed to brown, while the sixth, a boy, is dressed in a black suit with an entirely different cut. They appear to be studying.
Usagi will take her pocket money - a green paper note - from her bag and bring to the bar.
"Can I buy half a kilogram of silver for this?"
An apologetic napkin informs her,
I'm afraid not. That much will get you 18 grams of silver. You can run up a tab if you like.
She will return to the table.
"The bar said it wasn't enough. Maybe we can afford it if everyone chips in?"
"We're not allowed to sell these clothes. They're school uniforms."
I try not to make a habit of engaging in arbitrage.
"The bar allows people to borrow any book that has ever been publicly available in their own world. We discovered there were books from planets in our world whose inhabitants could change between human and animal forms."
Minako will move next to Ami and whisper to her.
"I could sell him my volleyball uniform, but I'd get in enough trouble for it that I want to make sure it's not a scam first."
Ami will surreptitiously investigate the stabilizer with the sensors built into her laptop. Are its effects as advertised? Are they versatile enough to extend to protecting someone from a deadly curse affecting him through a connection to his soul? Are they robust enough against raw magical power that it doesn't matter if the magical forces behind the curse and those already trying and failing to protect him from it are planetary in scale?
The stabilizer definitely contains magic, packed into tight particles dissolved in liquid. There are at least three different components to it.
One, to Stop Things From Happening, seems - sharp and slippery? It will try to prevent the body from doing things, and prevent outside forces from making things worse, both by stopping physical forces and by blocking magic. It looks like it might be relying on brute force for whatever capacity it has to resist other magic. Which would make sense if these are generalized, and not formulated specifically for specific curses.
Two, to Make Things Better, seems eager and energetic? It will invigorate cells or create new ones, promote normal stable blood flow, balance hormones, and do a bunch of other complicated biological tasks all aimed at 'healthy'. It has no interaction with the soul.
Three, to control the other two, seems almost circuit-like. It's hard to pick apart whatever logic or conditions must be inside it, but it definitely acts to direct the other two components more than anything else. It's the smallest portion of the magic.
Shall I provide you with a borrowed book?
The Wolfman nods, Bar provides. He sits on a stool and sips his milkshake.
Mauans are naturally able to switch between two forms, known by terms which we will translate as 'human' and 'cat', although their names in the Mauan language are not derived from the Solar-System species they resemble. The book will go into a lot of detail about the differences between human and cat forms which could be summarized as "like humans" and "like cats" if the intended audience were familiar with these. It is believed that ancestral mauans used the human form for persistence hunting large prey, carrying things, making tools and eating vegetable food, and the cat form for ambushing small prey.
While in cat form, mauans are able to speak and think in ways which should be impossible with the brains and vocal aparatus of this form, as the magic which allows their transformation allows these parts of the body to behave as though they were in the human form even when they aren't. For this reason, the human form is sometimes called the 'true' form, as it is the form in which the brain takes a shape which matches its internal function. However, the human form in fact requires continual support from the magic of the Mau Crystal to maintain, and without this mauans revert to their cat form, which requires only their own inherent magic. It is believed that the Mau Crystal could hypothetically be weaponized to force mauans into a non-magical version of the cat form, in which they would suffer dramatically reduced cognitive and vocal abilities in line with the physical shape of the cat form's brain and vocal apparatus. However, the magic that gives mauans their cognitive and vocal abilities is very robust, and the Mau Crystal is only able to interfere with it because mauan magic ultimately originates from it. The author seems to take it for granted that using the Crystal in this way would be horrible, but also that there is no serious risk that it will occur.
Many species have shape-shifting abilities similar to mauans. The human form is relatively similar between species where this occurs, while the cat form can vary dramatically. Chuuans and coronians and have similar abilities, as did cocoonans. Insofar as these forms differ from what is typical, they generally do so via incorporating additional features also found in the cat forms, such as mauans' and chuuans' tails and ears, or coronians' and cocoonans' wings.
A lot of sapient species not capable of shape-changing also seem to have forms resembling the human form. Humans are listed among examples of this category. They are stated to have been from the Solar System and referred to in the past tense. The cat form does not seem to have such a range of parallels, and it is generally believed to be unique to mauans. Claims that the Solar System was home to an entire race of creatures identical to hypothetical Mau-Crystal maimed mauans are almost certainly just creepypasta.
Usagi will remove her neckerchief (moving her brooch to her collar), empty her bag (onto the table) and head to the bar carrying them.
"OK, sir, you can take these, just please give me the stabilizer"
Untied, the neckerchief is just a square of red cloth.
"If you're worried about the cost, you could take my comic book? Most of the books we have here we need for school, but that I just brought to read during breaks. Milliways' translation effect won't apply when it's back in your world, but a lot of the story is in the pictures.
"I don't know how much it's worth to you compared to the medicine. I'm sorry if it's too little."
"Good. This is going to be a lot of help to Mamo, and I wouldn't want you to end up hurt for helping us."
She will go to the table and fetch the comic book, the cover of which depicts a girl in an outfit which resembles the girls' school uniforms, but with a slightly different design and the addition of a domino mask, gloves and pauladrons.
"The comic is about Sailor V, the pretty, sailor-suited soldier of justice. She was the first Sailor Warrior to awaken in modern times, and she can disguise herself as anyone and shoot energy beams and summon magic rain that breaks curses, and she has a boomerang and a mirror that sees through illusions, and cool fighting moves like the Sailor V Kick, and she's really pretty and athletic and glamorous and brave, and she fought against the Dark Agency, who set up fake businesses that drained people's life energy and hypnotized them into serving them, and she was in love with Kaitou Ace, the mysterious, handsome, card-throwing hero. It's a really good comic, and, for helping Mamo, you can take it, if you want, but I hope it winds up with someone who can appreciate the story.
"I'm Usagi, by the way. What's your name?"
"Oh, I'm Brigo. Some people call me Stump though. 'Cause I end up stumped on riddles a lot! Heh. Look, here. If your guy needs it, he needs it, it sounds like your magic is really different and there's not much healing available."
He pulls the cloudy bottle in and hands it over.
"Just keep in mind that it's not really a cure..."
"Thank you. I won't forget the root cause is still there and, I won't stop trying to fix it."
"Are you OK with people calling you Stump? It sounds like a mean thing to call someone a nickname about. I'm not very good at answering riddles either and I don't think I'd like it if people gave me a nickname about it."
"We do have some healing magic. Tuxedo Mask and Sailor Saturn have healing abilities, and according to the ancient books we borrowed from Bar the Silver Crystal, which we're fairly sure Sailor Moon has in the modern day, can restore people's life and youth. And our doctors can cure a lot of things even without magic, with modern medical technology. Just not what Mamoru has."
She looks, somewhat nervously, back towards the table her classmates at, then whispers to him, "I have something else I might be able to do to pay you, but I don't want word to get around that I can do it. Can you keep a secret?"