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Snippet #2651924

located in Edo Japan, a part of The Nascent Shinsengumi, one of the many universes on RPG.

Edo Japan

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Character Portrait: Hisashi Matsuo Character Portrait: Kou-san
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Aaaaaah spring, the cherry blossoms would be blooming all around soon! It was still a bit nippy, but the sun was up more now and the snow nearly completely melted away. Winter was rough, on fugitives anyway, hard to hide your tracks in snow. Kou made do through winter with a few bounties that she was tipped off on, particularly destructive and nasty individuals who were not too difficult to track down, which was good because Kou didn't have much skill in that area, but were too strong for your average sellsword to bring in. One even had guns from overseas, which make a lot of noise and hurt like hell if their bullets connect, but took a fatal amount of time to reload. She could see why no one would go near that particular one, the noise alone would be enough to scare off anyone. Winter was a bad time to be broke and end up sleeping outside, but each year Kou made due one way or another, scraped by with inns or worked for board. Kou sat at her table at Genishirou's Teahouse, contented but thoughtful look on her face while she drank sake.

Edo, it was not familiar, but it was where familiar people were, or at least one, Yukimura Toshirō. She had heard, vaguely, what had happened about ten years ago, but wasn't interested or dumb enough to go poking in the business. Or more accurately wasn't ready to be interested and dumb enough, now however, now was the time. She had fished more information about Edo and what people said was disturbing. There was a careful tension in the city, a clear hierarchy, an oppression. This was nothing like the yakuza she remembered. Toshi-san, as he had insisted she call him back then, was two-faced to be sure, but he was not a mad man. She wasn't sure what he wanted out of life or if anything would even be enough but he had always had a clear head about it. He was never cruel, that adjective had more or less belonged to Kou instead back then. And to be honest Kou wasn't entirely sure what she would or could do now, here in Edo, maybe ask to speak with him? Would she even be well received? She had left without so much as a word, deserted. That couldn't be let go lightly, or maybe it could? She had enjoyed some leeway with her reputation and position within the small army. What happened when she found Toshi-san to be an unreasonable person as she was likely to find? If any account of him was true and if he had let things get this bad then he clearly wasn't anything like she remembered him to be. Kou's face changed from contented to troubled and soon thereafter to downright grumpy looking. All of this analyzing and planning scenarios, it had been a very long time since Kou had dealt with anything so troublesome, most of the problems she encountered were not solved with the brain but rather her sword. But even she couldn't possibly take on an entire army by herself. Maybe if she could gain an audience with Toshi she could kill him then and there. But who's to say someone else wouldn't just take his place? This particular small army wasn't just made up of humans either, there were yokai to deal with, and a few other hanyo like her. Was she really considering killing this man upon meeting him so casually? What was wrong with her?

"Kou-san, would you like any more?" Kaede, the smiling but prickly daughter of the teahouse's owner and one of the serving girls seemed to sneak up on Kou, prompting her out of her grouchy looking focused contemplation. "Though, one would think that you're a lush, drinking so much while it's still light out." How did such a pretty smile speak such cutting words?!

Kou laughed ashamedly and rubbed the back of her head, "Well you know! Might as well not deny it, I promise I probably won't get drunk though, you'd be surprised how much a practiced veteran like me can pack away." Kou bragged.

"Should you be bragging about that Kou-san? How shameless." Kaede quipped back without mercy or hesitation, prompting another chuckle from Kou.

Kaede collected Kou's empty flask and moved on to another table further up the room, occupied by people Kaede hadn't noticed before, probably because she wasn't paying attention to her surroundings in the least bit. It was a group of men, one of which had distinctive white hair. They were pretty loud, Kou leaned back, folding her hands on her stomach, observing them lazily. Could the white haired one be who she thought? Well, how many people walked around with white hair; were he a yokai that hair would be black in their human form. A hanyo only had one form, sometimes unfortunately, and could not hide any traits inherited from their yokai heritage. Their parents could protect them as a kid, but eventually a hanyo would have to deal with society as a whole, and deal with being shunned. They either had to make their own lonely way in life or find some place to accept them, the yakuza under Goda Daizo accepted hanyo without qualm. Kou remembered a hanyo with white hair within the group, he, like Kou, had a chip on his shoulder as well. Unsurprising behavior for hanyo in general, she remembered that he hadn't had the benefit of people to raise him like she did, he'd been utterly alone until he was found. He was too young to fight, they had made him do chores instead. Looks like he had grown up, and was a money collector.

Kaede was a smart girl with a strong spine, but someone in her family was addicted to that poison, Kou guessed it must be the father, since he was all but absent the entire day and Kou had derived from speaking to Kaede that there was no living mother. Kaede was probably struggling to keep up both taxes to the yakuza for "protection" and payments for her father's steady supply of drug. Entrapping the downtrodden and then bullying them for money, was this really the nobility of the yakuza now? The organization had utterly fallen into greed. Kou was gripping her sword by the sheath now and leant forward subconsciously, listening intently. Chore boy had his hand on Kaede's ass now, Kou had the strong urge to cut that hand off.

Kou let out a puff of air from her nose, cutting off the hands of Toshi's people wouldn't be wise, she would keep it sheathed if it came to that. She approached with her cup and fixed a smile on her face, "Momoshi-kun is that you?!" Kou gave him a jab in the back with the hilt of her katana before plopping down next to him, this jab hurt apparently, which was enough for Kaede to get out of his grip and make her departure. "Don't hurry back Kaede-chan we've got catching up to do!" Kou called after her, waving.

"Who in the living hell of motherfuck are you?" Momoshi spat, the table was momentarily stunned at the display of intrusive gall Kou exhibited, but they soon moved their hands to their katana.

"Aaaaaah you probably don't recognize me right? You knew me back when I was bald, you know, monk-like. You were still doing chores by the time I left." Kou helped herself to the table's sake while Momoshi stared are her with a bemused look on his face, the cogs in his head slowly clicking into place.

"Noooooo, it couldn't be you?! If you're him..." Kou held up her katana while she sipped, the same one everyone back then was issued, though she could see from everyone else's that since then different forgers had been employed, they even changed the sheath colours, which was a shame because Kou quite liked the classical sea green Goda had chosen.

"Bullshit, I don't believe it, they said he kept monk's beads on him, and why would you grow your hair out? If it was to hide why come back? You're a deserter you know, old man Goda rest his soul he let you go, but our new master? He'd have you hunted down and made an example of. Momoshi spoke as though he were important, it made Kou highly amused. She had his intrigue though, that much was clear, it had put the three others at the table at ease.

"Good thing I left while Goda-dono was still in charge then. And I never shaved my head because I was a monk. That was just a name you all gave me." Kou fished out her beads from inside her collar, pulling them out enough to be seen before tucking them back in carefully. "By the way, Momoshi-kun wet his tatami in the middle of the night until he was at least eleven." Kous shared with the group, earning smiles and sly looks over at Momoshi.

"Oi! Ok ok I believe you no need to make me look bad by spinning tales. You're Kou the bloody monk after all." Momoshi saved face.

"Wasn't it bloodthirsty monk?" One of the other men quipped.

"Nah it's the blood red monk." Another corrected.

"It's protector of Kaede-chan now actually." Kou said suddenly, voice firm and serious. She twirled her cup softly on the table. "I couldn't help but notice you were bothering her, really scummy behavior if you ask me. Not at all how men should act. Stealing money from hard working honest people. Used to be we took from the rich, never the poor."

The atmosphere became tense once more, "Look, Kou-san, I have a great deal of respect for you, and would gladly share my table with you, but understand, things are different now, it might not be pretty but it's just how we do things. And not only me, we have a whole operation we each do our part in running."

It's just how we do things? How was that even an answer? "I don't much care how you do things now Momoshi-kun, you'll leave Kaede-chan and her father alone from now on. Understood?" Kou stated, an absurdly simple command for a more complicated situation she knew, but she had to start somewhere.

Momoshi gave an uncomfortable laugh, the tension in the room built steadily, it was suddenly quiet in the teahouse. Momoshi reached for his katana.

He didn't even get to touch it before a sake cup smashed in his face. Kou elbowed the man to her right in the nose, breaking it. She had two more, and they were already drawing their swords. Kou stood, flipping the table on them as she did, Momoshi had recovered, but was finished off by a sharp jab to the skull with the butt of her her sheath. She turned and stopped the man with the broken nose from drawing his katana, forcing his arm back to re-sheath it and nicking his thumb in the procress, he got a kick to the groin to floor him while she made quick work of the other two who had recovered from having a table flipped on top of them. In the end she left all four of them unconscious.

Her eyes darted between the four of them, tense and clearly disappointed, fists clenched, heart beating fast. It was so quick, too quick, she had to calm down now. She shook her hands out and picked up the broken bottle of sake, "What a waste..." She let it fall with an annoyed look on her face, fastening her katana in her belt. She looked up at the teahouse, empty now, probably for the best. All except for one man? Was that? No.