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Maeda Katsuo

Gold Clansmen

0 · 507 views · located in Tokyo, Japan

a character in “K Project; Fall Of The Grey King”, as played by Elision

Description

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ๅ‰็”ฐ ๅ‹้›„

Nickname(s)
Age
Gender
Clan
Role
Ethnicity
Birth Date
Sexuality
โœฎ| Kat, Suoh, Mae-Mae
โœฎ| Twenty-Three
โœฎ| Male
โœฎ| Timeless Palace
โœฎ| Clansmen
โœฎ| American & Japanese
โœฎ| February 14th
โœฎ| Polyamourous

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Katsuo is the sole heir of Maeda Dynamics. He has served as a Gold Clansmen for several years, and is the self proclaimed older brother of Ikeda Miu. He's gifted with a gun and has a rather tough looking exterior. He's a womanizer to say the least, having only ever cared for his sister and a girl that broke his heart. Manipulating people comes naturally to him, or as his father would say, it runs in the family. He went through a bit of a rebellious phase that he never quite grew out of.

POWERใ€Œโ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹ใ€XXAGILITYใ€Œโ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹ใ€XXCHARISMAใ€Œโ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹ใ€
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Katsuo has a rather striking appearance. Born with an unusually pale complexion, he suffers from albinism. Though it doesn't negatively impact his appearance, it doesn't exactly help it either. His hair is an unusual shade of snowy white and cascades down almost to his shoulders, spiking out every which way. The eerie red orbs that peer from his face are etched at angle that gives off a rather unfriendly vibe. Towering above just about everyone at a whopping 6'6" doesn't really help make the man look any less intimidating. One might imagine an heir to have a rather lanky frame, however, the youngest Maeda is well toned and built.
ARTใ€Œโ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹ใ€XXINTELLIGENCEใ€Œโ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹ใ€XXBEAUTYใ€Œโ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹ใ€
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Loves:
    Miu | "She's my baby sister, of course I love her."
    Timeless Palace | "We're only the best clan in Japan. That's a fact."
    Guns | "They're my family business, and what I know best."
    Smoking | "It's relaxing, don't judge me."
    Spicy Food | "My mom always said I had the stomach of a dragon."

Hates:
    Bad Parents | "People who refuse to love their kids are terrible. I hope they die, every last one of them."
    Women | "They only one I trust is Miu, the others will just stab you in the back."
    Thugs | "After you've been through what I have, it's hard not to."
    Liars | "If I give you my trust, you'd be wise not to betray it."
    Monkeys | "The bastards just piss me off."
โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹
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โ– Charming
Despite his rough outward appearance, the man can charm even the most conservative of women. Don't get the wrong idea, he only uses this talent to further his own agenda, and he couldn't care less about the women. In fact, the entire things a front, he's almost terrified of the things after a bad experience with the last one he cared for.

โ– Ill Tempered
Though most of the time he appears cool and collected, Katsuo is very good at hiding his emotions. Little things can set him off quite easily, and the man could secretly despise you for it while nodding and smiling while listening to you talk about your weekend. His temper can become violent on occasion and in the even that it does his facade can quickly drop and he becomes a rather scary person. Things said about his 'sister' affect him the most.

โ– Secretive
Katsuo likes to keep his personal life very personal, sharing only what he wants to while making it seem like he's the world's most open book. People he trusts enough to open up to are few and far between.

โ– Manipulative
While acting like he couldn't care less, Katsuo is busy molding exactly how he's seen by those around him. A talent and habit passed down to him by his father, he's always putting on a performance. It's nearly impossible for him to stop this, even when he's consciously trying to.
โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹
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Katsuo was always the type to keep to himself as a child. Going to a prestigious school, he was popular and had no shortage of friends, but always felt best when he was alone. Socializing felt more like putting on a show, and he was always rather tense while doing it.

He was only four when he was abducted by the Yakuza. His parents, owners of the largest arms dealing company in Japan, had refused to sell them any more weapons. As revenge, they took their only son. Most children would take this as a sign that there is truly nothing good in the world and fall into despair, but Katsuo never once felt that. Instead, he stayed hopeful and cheery for the sake of a young girl he met. Ikeda Miu. He practically raised the girl for the three years until they escaped, then reluctantly handing over that authority to the Grey King.

Following his escape, the boy began to attend school once again, resuming his life as if he had never left. However, worried about their son's apparent apathy and refusal to speak about his experience, this lead to a long string of therapists each making no real difference. The person that did make a difference was a girl he met there. He felt as if he could open up to her, and he did. He told the girl everything, forming a beautiful friendship, and eventually more.

This girl then committed the ultimate betrayal. Having managed to keep his experience a secret from his classmates for years, the girl exposed him on the school website, claiming that he was a member of the Yakuza as well. He was furious, and cut off all ties with her and the school. Choosing to finish his education in America.

Upon his return, he was a changed man. Seemingly the most social person you'd ever meet, one would think he was some sort of changeling. At his parent's suggestion, he joined the Gold clan, of which they were already clansmen. He did so, eventually pulling in his sister as well.

Following the death of the Grey King, he's felt more obliged than ever to look after her. After all, it should have stayed his job in the first place.

So begins...

Maeda Katsuo's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nakano Yuka Character Portrait: Mira Saromi Character Portrait: Alastair Payne Character Portrait: Arata Utagawa Character Portrait: Sachiko Yano Character Portrait: Gensai Riku Character Portrait: Ikeda Miu Character Portrait: Tanabata Emi Character Portrait: Naoko Ita Character Portrait: Maeda Katsuo Character Portrait: Shizuka Hibiki Character Portrait: Nao Morizakawa Character Portrait: Yukimura Hisako Character Portrait: Ketsuraku Kazuki Character Portrait: Cyneric Ozu Character Portrait: Sora Arakida Character Portrait: Daisuke O'Connor Character Portrait: Hirai Nakazo Character Portrait: Kita Tooru
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#, as written by Elision
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5:45 AM | October 1st | Greater Tokyo Area

As the sun rose over Shizume city and the rest of Tokyo, the city had begun to wake up from it's slumber. It's residents, getting ready to begin their daily grind through their 9 to 5 jobs. Some already there, having stayed the night struggling to finish the heavy workload assigned to them. Others, of less orthodox professions, mucking around in the streets or on their way to school. However, for those who have managed become intertwined with the seven Kings residing in the city, the day had a more solemn meaning.

Marking exactly two weeks after the death of the former peacekeeper, a small ceremony was to be held to honor the dead King before his burial. Though few would be in attendance, too busy fighting among each other as to who the culprit of his, and other recent deaths was.

However, while they may be able to determine how their days will go, the security of their future is no longer certain. What may seem like an irrelevant decision at the moment, could very well mean whether or not more blood is spilled.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ikeda Miu Character Portrait: Tanabata Emi Character Portrait: Maeda Katsuo
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#, as written by Elision
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ใ€ŒIkeda.Miuใ€
Dialogue โ™š #FFAAD7
Thoughts โ™š #AAD7FF





Exiting the funeral home after the ceremony was probably the best feeling Miu had for weeks. Having anxiously clung to her brother's arm through the entire event, sobbing on and off, she couldn't say for sure her thoughts on the whole thing. The man in the casket was hardly recognizable to her, the face reassembled after the damage caused by the fire was one completely foreign to the girl.

Of the lines of people who had greeted her earlier, most had seemed more like plastic dolls rehearsing lines for a play than a truly sympathetic person. This excluded a few people of course, her brother had been periodically pulling her in for hugs and grasping her hand as if it were the only thing holding the girl in this world. The Blue King was also in attendance, as if she had formed a sort of pact with Katsuo to make sure Miu had an endless supply of bad tasting casseroles and bear hugs. As much as she disliked being touched so often, the two had made the last two weeks easier for her than it would have been otherwise.


"Katsuchi, I think I just want to go home." Miu told the elder boy. After that whole ordeal, a reception with a room of people who only spoke to her father because of his wealth was at the bottom of her list of things she wanted to do. The way the older men would speak to her only annoyed the girl, not to mention the fact she was well aware of exactly which of them had attempted to arrange her marriage with her father. Ridiculous.

After receiving brief instructions from Katsuo to stay put while he snuck off for a smoke, she whipped out the latest prototype of Ikeda International's new phone. Typing in a message to Nana before deleting it. Her friend had made it so clear even the socially inept girl could understand that she was no longer welcome within a two mile radius of the redhead. Instead, a bird perched a few feet away became her new conversation partner.


"Well hello there Kotori-San. How are you today?" Brandishing some of the bird seed she always carried around in her purse, the girl coaxed the tiny pigeon onto her hand. Carrying on a conversation with the bird as if it were a person, and actually responding to her of course.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ikeda Miu Character Portrait: Maeda Katsuo Character Portrait: Shizuka Hibiki
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#, as written by Elision
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ใ€ŒMaeda.Katsuoใ€
Dialogue โœฎ #A60A00
Thoughts โœฎ #D65E0D





The ceremony couldn't have been over sooner, with the fresh air helping to rejuvenate him after the stressful congregation. For the better part of the ceremony, Katsuo had been cradling a visibly distressed Miu during her fits of tears. This was understandable, of course, but it hurt him to see the small woman so torn up.

Planning on escorting the girl to the reception, he was about to raise his arm to hail a taxi when the small hand wrapped around his wrist. Expressing her wishes to go home, a sigh escaped his lips. Of course she wouldn't care to go through the proper motions,even if it was the sensible thing to do.
'Geez, why couldn't she just act normally for once.'

"Mi, sweetheart, you should really go." The elder boy insisted, putting on his sweetest voice. This, however, was shot down in seconds with a curt shake of the woman's head. Not willing to start an argument with the equivalent of a brick wall in public, Katsuo gave in, though he wasn't to happy for it. "Fine then, let me slip off for a moment for a smoke. Don't wander off, I'll be back soon." The lecture was one fit for a child, however, in his eyes Miu wasn't far from it. Sure, she was no fool, but she had found herself in bad parts of town before when she wandered off on a whim, albeit that was several years prior. Though she was older and able to handle herself now, he had dealt with those situations before, and wasn't to keen on replaying them for a second time.

The stroll to the smoking area was a brisk one, fearing that leaving his 'baby sister' alone for too long might allow some of the more unsavory characters to take advantage of his angel in such a fragile state. Collapsing onto one of the benches, his lighter flew out of his pocket like lightning.


"Yo." He greeted the other lone figure in the section. A conversation was probably the last thing he was seeking out, but it was also rude just to completely ignore the other person. The man could just cross his fingers and hope the person in question would be as opposed to speaking to him as he was them.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Nakano Yuka Character Portrait: Mira Saromi Character Portrait: Alastair Payne Character Portrait: Arata Utagawa Character Portrait: Sachiko Yano Character Portrait: Gensai Riku Character Portrait: Ikeda Miu Character Portrait: Tanabata Emi Character Portrait: Naoko Ita Character Portrait: Maeda Katsuo Character Portrait: Shizuka Hibiki Character Portrait: Nao Morizakawa Character Portrait: Ketsuraku Kazuki Character Portrait: Cyneric Ozu Character Portrait: Sora Arakida Character Portrait: Daisuke O'Connor Character Portrait: Hirai Nakazo Character Portrait: Kita Tooru
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WARNING: VERY LONG POST AHEAD.


Before the arrival of dawn, three small green stars were becoming one with Hibiki's ceiling. Their edges were rough and scraped at by the longest nail she possessed (on her right index finger, saved from her nibbling teeth by the unconscious desire to have something to scratch with), but they had been there too long to easily peel off the way they once might have. Her parody of a starry sky was as much of a spectacle as the true skies of Tokyo at midnight, a time Hibiki once thought was when the city went to sleep and the stars quietly arranged themselves into fantastic stories that you could read if you stayed in the dark. The slightest flicker of a light could send stars scattering. A light told them that children who should be sleeping were awake and watching.

But the city did not sleep then and the lights warded away the stars until the only ones that remained were the three she was glaring at on her ceiling. They weren't the brightest, having their own light pollution to battle with in the form of flashing monitors and screens, but she was too indifferent to properly remove them so they were OK by her. Now that Hibiki was older she knew when the city really slept. It slept in the earliest hours of the morning when the sun was not yet up and the stars had all gone away. This was the time that Hibiki always woke.

On that freakishly early morning, she found herself sprawled out on the floor in a position that was obvious to anyone she hadn't meant to fall asleep in, with her shirt flipped up and revealing her stomach and her legs tangled in electrical cords. Her one exposed eye looked dead, dragged down by the dark bags beneath it, and it stared lifelessly up at the stars which reflected in her brilliantly red iris. Hibiki peeled from the carpet as one would remove themselves from a cobweb: picking off things she didn't want to touch while making faces. Her long sheet of hair was the most reluctant piece of her to get off the ground before she wound it around her hand and yanked, breaking it free of its mango iced tea puddle prison. Several wispy green casualties were left behind but would not be missed. She crouched in her over sized shirt and boxers until something turned on in her brain and she stood up โ€“ or, as up as her spine allowed her to. She scanned the room once for anything on her security footage, her eyes lingering a little too long on her beckoning laptop, then navigated over the empty food packets, video games that focused on male bonding, a build-your-own-robot kit and lots and lots of unsorted laundry. She opened the door and stepped out to be swallowed by complete darkness, but the trip had been made so many times before that she didn't need the light to oh wait nevermind. As always she forgot how big she was ever since that sudden growth spurt and clipped her little toe on the dresser. A stack of letters slid sideways off the cupboard and something that was not her squeaked and buried itself in sawdust. Hibiki muttered an apology through her pain for disturbing her pet and dropped to the ground, felt around for the letters that fell, stacked them back up and carefully (or, as carefully as she could do anything) put them in the top draw of the dresser. She mentally flipped a switch as she hobbled through the corridor on her way to the kitchen and suddenly the apartment was lit up in harsh fluorescent lighting. Vision didn't make her any less of a lumbering zombie and now she could see how gross she looked by squinting at her disgruntled reflection in the kitchen window. A cup of cold water to the face and swirling around in her empty belly made her feel queasy but woke her to some extent and her first fully comprehensible thought of the day formed, Time?

4: 17

She moved quickly now. In the main room, she pulled out her exercise mat. Her long toes clasped the edge of it like a balancing act as she tied her hair up in the usual high ponytail with the lackey around her wrist. When done she couldn't help but deliver a swift and powerful roundhouse kick to the pink punching bag hanging beside her to just remind it of who was the boss. It left an indent and the bag swung back and forth and creaked in surrender. Satisfied, she curled down and touched the ground (just managing to, her knees could never seem to straighten) to begin her morning stretches.

4:38

Hibiki's purple hood hid her matted, mango-scented hair and headphones beneath it. Her shoulders and spirit sagged when she caught a glimpse at her sickly, boyish features in the mirror, which she zipped up her red turtleneck to hide. The next ten minutes were spent bustling around collecting yen like it was a scavenger hunt mini game. Before leaving the apartment she went to swipe an easy access packet of bubblegum from the top of a kitchen cabinet when she stopped. Her hand was caught in an invisible trap between the gum and a half empty packet of cigarettes. It was only for a second, a moment that she barely picked up on herself, that her hand swayed between the two options before snatching one up and stuffing it in her pocket with such vigor it was as though she never faltered. At the door she breathed. On the other side of the door she took out her keys and locked each padlock methodically. Outside the apartment complex, she pressed play on an upbeat track (I know I know I'm lame) of a band she favoured, yanked her hood down further and began to jog.

Her neck started cramping as she jogged through the inner city and it wasn't because she spent all that time craning over a computer screen, but good guess. The skyscrapers were too flashy in the way they reflected everything below and around them that it would be a crime to not look up at them as you ran by, a crime that Hibiki drew the line at. They would probably look better with the sun shining off of them but this was the only time that Hibiki could move through this area so leisurely. Any later and this place would be full of people and moving among them would not suit her... requirements. She jogged on the spot when she caught a glimpse of Mihashira Tower, the skyscraper that served as Timeless Palace HQ, staring at its top floor distractedly through her bangs until her own urgency spurred her forward. Even with the streets devoid of activity โ€“ well, apart from the lazy cars, pigeons, occasional person who looked like they didn't want to be seen just as she much as her and food businesses preparing for opening hours โ€“ the place still felt dangerous when lingered in for too long, almost as though someone was watching her. As she left Timeless Palace behind her, her long lost cat Suzu slunk away to say good morning to her true master.

Right around the corner from the HQ of Scepter 4, Hibiki inserted yen into a vending machine and crouched down to retrieve the breakfast it dropped for her. She poked the straw into the box and began slurping the weird liquid cereal stuff as she trotted backwards all the way to the tall black gates of the formal looking mansion. Finding humor in the thought that the Blue Clan were so desperately looking for her yet had no idea that she practically paid them a visit every day (buying from vending machines was so much less stressful than shops and shops weren't open when she was hungry this early, anyway), a smug, almost villainous smile formed around the straw between her lips. She turned her back on the building, wiggled her hips, stretched out her back and yawned then glanced over her shoulder with a look that said, โ€œAnd what are you going to do about it?โ€, an expression hidden from security cameras by her hood. She swiftly finished her drink and disposed of her rubbish in the bin provided then did some proper stretching to warm up again before jogging away.

Her own territory felt the most comfortable for her yet was the most miserable. It was so pitiful and small and it was obvious why her members were yearning after HOMRA's territory, with it being so alive and spacious and not too uptown like Scepter 4 and Timeless Palace. The territory looked more appealing than her own because of how the Red King took care of it and cared for it... unlike her... but while she had no attachment to her territory as such (her true territory was the internet, after all), she felt a strong duty to her people... despite being happy to go her entire life without exchanging a single word with them... her personal issues had nothing to do with her loyalty, I'm sure.

<JUNGLE> had the highest number of members out of the clans. Their members weren't restricted to their shabby territory, they were scattered throughout Tokyo Metropolis with other jobs and lives apart from the clan. Members could choose to remain anonymous, with their true identities and residences documented by the king. They would be known to others in the clan by their online names only so they could support the group without having the pressure of Scepter 4 shaking disapproving fists at their backs. While that was once the norm, these people were now not so lovingly referred to by higher ranked members as โ€œShrubsโ€. You see, once upon a time, the entire group were completely anonymous and wore helmets to cover their identities when representing themselves publicly. It was during the fifty years of peace that the security focused on identity was lessened and the higher ranked, more involved members of the clan felt comfortable letting their faces and names be known. Ryuu claimed this more relaxed attitude was a good thing, as proper trust began forming amongst their ranks and with the other clans. Maybe it was good. But now Hibiki was king, and she was everything Ryuu was not, and while she had proven herself worthy of the title she had no means to prove a shrub like herself was worthy of their respect. The more she thought about the problems she had before all of these murders started made a hidden piece of her stress what the heck Ryuu was thinking, appointing someone with as much social awareness as her king. Ugh, Ryuu was so good at hyping them up to believe their bonds were more important than their brains (something that Hibiki definitely did not believe in but knew was a thing she had to fake). She wished he would hurry up and get back from the Bahamas or whatever place she'd rather be that was pictured on the last postcard he sent her.

And oh God, she still had to tell him about Naomi.

She took a quick break to check out the nightclub she "managed" while she was passing by. The Jungle looked so unimpressive in the grey light with its flashing neon signs turned off and she could tell that new graffiti had been added to its ink collection. It definitely didn't look like the ideal place to set up HQ, that was for sure, but Ryuu felt that they needed a physical hang out to regain that social interaction that kids these days were missing out on and hey, sex and alcohol are what they're into, right? The girl could even smell urine coming from the alley that led to the back entrance. Her face darkened upon remembering that's where she had to go in the evening to meet up with her new Right Hand, Hirai Nakazo. This would mark her second meeting with the man and she couldn't say that she didn't dread it.

Not passing through HOMRA's territory to the grocery store that opened at seven thirty sharp would be a disruption to routine.

At the end of her sprint she halted so suddenly that she buckled and had to clutch her knees for support. She was unused to pushing herself so hard in that last stretch. Her clothes trapped her body heat and made her more uncomfortable than she should have been after her run but she would never remove an item of clothing in public. Her heart was beating fast and there was an awful pressure against her temples, not from the exercise but from something else. Passing by the unassuming bed and breakfast that served as HOMRA HQ had become harder for her as of late. She looked up in time to see the sign switch from closed to open.


*


*


*


She wasn't planning to be here. She didn't owe the Grey King anything. Why did she come here instead of home? She approached the funeral home so hesitantly that anyone watching might have thought she was attending hers.

But she didn't attend. She ducked around the back and when she reached a bench she lurched. The wind took the long hair that protruded from her hood hostage and whipped her face with it like a spiteful poltergeist. It was quiet here, or, much quieter now that her music was no longer assaulting her poor eardrums. She could still hear the sounds of the city, which was now very much awake. This was the time that Hibiki would be sleeping, but at least there was nobody here - not near her, just... surrounding her... and through that wall. Walls weren't as solid to her as they were to others. How she was going to wade home through that ocean of noise and humanity was beyond her, but sitting here in the shadows made the problem seem almost OK.

Almost.

She took a lighter from one of the two plastic bags she held then dropped them on her bench to leave both hands free to light a cigarette. It took a dozen tries for her slightly too large hands to flip the fiddly switch but they did, eventually. Finally, she took a long draw of her cigarette only to double over and hack up her lungs. This continued until it became a worry. When she managed to stop she grit her teeth and straightened, bringing the poison back up to her lips. She coughed again, but quieter this time. She shut her eyes and breathed.

Name: Yamauchi Naomi. Age of death: 42 Time of death: Unknown. Information has been withheld from Scepter 4's systems, most likely because they know I'll be following the case. All that's determined is it happened two weeks ago, just three days after the death of the Grey King. Cause of death: Found floating in the river with damage to the skull. The โ€œofficialโ€ story the news covered was that she hit her head and drowned. That isn't true. Her power was summoning electrical projectiles. She was not immune to her own projectiles. Taking the fight underwater was an advantage against her abilities and her killer knew that.

That's all the information I have of her death. Now, I have to decide my next move.


Hibiki reopened her eyes and gazed at her sneakers gravely, the smoke of her cigarette spiraling away in the breeze.

They expect to go to war, she surmised with her chin in her palm, Worst of all, they expect me to lead them there.

She inhaled the smoke again, held in her protesting lungs, and leaned forward.

Naomi was floating downriver. Upriver is HOMRA territory. She could have floated down, but a body bobbing down Sumida river would not have made it far without being spotted. The way I see it, we have reasons to be suspicious but not enough of them. HOMRA deny our accusations and are not inviting conflict nor have anything to gain by initiating it, though, their hostile attitude towards us suggests they're not against it. So how much can we call solid proof and how much are we grasping at prejudiced straws? I know for a fact that some in particular would say anything to start a fight with our more powerful neighbors. It's moronic, that way of thinking.

Smoke left her mouth in a little puff and she paused.

But it isn't unjustified. This isn't the first murder in these past three weeks but this is only the second that they're aware of. Four Shrubs have been targeted. If they knew, there would be hysteria. My clan is already scared and with Yoshida-kun announced missing yesterday... I should be drawing connections between all of the murders by now. She grunted and ruffled her fringe in frustration. And yet the only connection is that they were killed in regular, unoriginal ways near or in their residences, none of them showing any sign that they had been murdered by a clansman apart from the fact that nobody BUT enemy clansmen would want us dead. Or... actually... That was a lie. <JUNGLE> were a notorious hacker group, of course they had made enemies with powerful people and anyway, the identities and residences of those who chose to remain anonymous were known by only her and her Right Hand. The other clans would not know who or where they were โ€“ nobody would. Hirai was not yet trusted enough to receive the list and Naomi... she was gone. Naomi was the victim of the second murder and the first was a Shrub. The assailant could not have taken the information from her, they already knew it. Besides, there was no mention of torture wounds. None that were disclosed to the public. With her dead, the only suspects would be me and Akiyama Ryuu. Obviously I'm not a murderer, and Ryuu... โ€ฆ โ€ฆ

โ€œ... Pfft.โ€

Don't laugh. Any lead is worth something at this point, no matter how unlikely. Who had gotten that information and how? Had their faces been sold out to the highest bidder? Having so many enemies didn't help her narrow down suspects at all. I have some information on the deaths of the Shrubs, which is virtually nothing apart from the fact that the police obviously must have made the shocking discovery that the corpses were <JUNGLE> members, because each investigation dropped from their records days after they were in their system. If Scepter 4 documented information useful to all of these cases on their hard drives instead of writing it down on paper I'd have already solved this crisis, unless... they've refused to take it as a case. A dozen hackers in the underground aren't worth anything to such honest citizens.

That prospect hurt more than the original thought that Scepter 4 wanted to keep the infamous J and the Green Clan out of the loop. After all of the leads and information she had leaked them that had assisted them in so many cases, how they still hunted for her stung, but it didn't insult her like considering her clan not worth their time did. She was so troubled by this she felt ill, or perhaps that was just the cigarette.

โ€ฆ That won't do. They have to take it. Homicide is homicide. They already know <JUNGLE>'s crimes and they've overlooked them... mostly. Will an investigation of the murders of online gang members turn into an investigation into the identity of J? They're persistent enough that I've had to change my name and move three times already, having them working with us will leave me hazardously vulnerable.

She hunched up and sucked in her breath, hardening her resolve once more.

So the decision stands as this โ€“ either go to war with HOMRA; the Red Clan that has always beaten us, and punch the truth out of the Red King at the cost of what little territory we have, or ask for the help of Scepter 4; the Blue Clan that have always hunted us and can see us behind bars, make me forfeit my place as king or perhaps execu... The thought was so horrible she couldn't finish it. She took a quick draw of her cigarette and glanced around in paranoia. The funeral home felt like it was craning over her back. Even the sky was coming too close. It has been practiced before.

Then a third option โ€“ remain stumbling in the dark as we are stripped away one by one and <JUNGLE> no longer remains. And I have to make the decision before facing my Right Hand tonight.


Yeah, like that was going to happen. She tapped the ash from the end of her cigarette when the tremors in her hand became too much to keep it steady and it dropped. Hibiki swore and took out the box and lighter but her already fumbling hands were so shaky it was even harder than lighting the first.

โ€œWhat are the two most important factors of making a decision?โ€

โ€œFacts and rationality,โ€ Hibiki answered just as Naomi chuckled over the top of her, โ€œA good view and a fag.โ€ Hibiki stared at her blankly from her bed until Naomi felt nervous. "You know, like, a cigarette. I'm talking 'bout cigarettes." Hibiki just grunted and raised an eyebrow to signify she knew what the woman meant. Naomi nodded and lit one up, breathed it in and sighed blissfully. "It's the same way I've made every decision. Even the one to keep your sorry ass around."

There was comfortable silence, when

"Obviously, killing your lungs speeds up the thought process." Hibiki was concerned for her, but she had meant to insult her to hide it, but not loud enough for her to notice. She did take notice and her face brightened with pride.

"Did my lil' Mako-chan make a funny in the absence of a joke book? I'm actually so happy. We'll be having these things called conversations in no time." Makoto, the name Hibiki wore as her own at that time. Her cheeks burned as scarlet as Naomi's hair at her nearly sarcastic jesting and Hibiki hid behind her knees, waiting for the torment to be over. The carefree woman blew smoke from her nostrils and reassured her, "Don't worry 'bout it. When I die it'll be on my own terms. I won't end up a bloated body washed up on the shore three days after I was attacked and murdered on my way home from a date with that joke you think isn't worth the effort."


She hadn't really said that, but in that moment Hibiki was convinced that she did. The back of her throat hurt. She remembered that Naomi once attended the funeral for her aunt at this place and wondered if she was sitting at the same bench the woman sat while she smoked and reflected on her memories with her late loved one, the same Hibiki was now. The thought that her right hand could have been in the exact same place that Naomi's hand once clutched around made her palm feel strangely warm. It was a pleasant warmth, like the lingering ghost of someone's hand in hers, but she wouldn't know that. She never held anyone's hand. Giving up on lighting the cigarette, she brought her forearm over her face to shield it from the skies that were threatening to crush her. She shut her eyes and tried to breathe.

"Yo."

Hibiki had never stood up so fast in her entire life. She stood up so fast, a wave of nausea came over her and she sat back down. Her head twitched to her right to take in a small glance at he person sitting beside her to only get a glimpse of someone's torso dressed in funeral black. She returned her gaze to her unlit cigarette that was threatening to crumble in her fist she was clutching it so hard and slowly, painfully so, tilted up her head to look at the face of the man that towered over her.

That's Maeda Katsuo of Timeless Palace. She thought to herself as she stared in the opposite direction to him. That's Maeda Katsuo of Timeless Palace and I assumed his height was a typo. She thought as she licked her finger and tested the direction of the breeze. That's Maeda Katsuo of Timeless Palace and he is very tall and I'm on the grounds a funeral was held for a King and nobody knows who I am. There's only one person that might attend that people know that nobody knows. That is J. I'm the only person here on the premises nobody knows.

An endless stream of swears looped in her mind as she reached out and took the bags that separated herself from the enemy and placed them on her lap. The crinkling of plastic was the only sound to fill the awkward silence between them as Hibiki's mind ticked. She tried to light her cigarette again and again and again as she did the only thing she could do to save her identity in this situation.

"You -" her voice was so husky from not being used. She cleared her throat, keeping her chin tucked in tightly against her chest to hide her face. Damn, was there a childproof lock on this lighter or something? She could never get those things. "You were attending the funeral held here?" she asked, her voice kept down low. She then uttered a phrase she had memorised from these sorts of sad situations in films, "Sorry for your loss."

She had to make him believe that she was an outsider. In situations like these, it was lucky that lying came as naturally as breathing for her... but lately, she was having trouble with even that.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arata Utagawa Character Portrait: Sachiko Yano Character Portrait: Ikeda Miu Character Portrait: Tanabata Emi Character Portrait: Maeda Katsuo Character Portrait: Shizuka Hibiki Character Portrait: Cyneric Ozu
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Cyneric Ozu

Dialogue โ‹„ #666666
Thought โ‹„ #CC3300



It was a rather dull atmosphere and almost fitting day for a funeral. According to Cyneric that was, but what did he know? The boy had never attended a funeral in his whole life and frankly that was a habit he did not wish to break too soon. He could have only mused over what heartbreak Miu was going through; it was her dear father after all. The former Grey King too. But Cyneric knew that her brother would be there to catch the fragile girl should she fall, and he could have sworn some of Scepter 4 were present too. It was a humble gathering perhaps that was to say, but nobody could dare shine a smile.

Cyneric had attended the ceremony only briefly, feeling that it was nice to show his face in moral support but not outstay his welcome. He never knew the man after all, even if his predecessor did that was something that never quite passed on to him. So, here he was outside standing. Everyone was making their way out of the building and presumably making paths to the graveyard for the burial. But the boy was taking his time, debating his course of action. Heck, being back at school was seeming more tempting if only just to squirrel away in his dorm.

Was that allowed? Could he do that? Would Miu mind, would anyone mind? Hopefully nothing terrible would happen today. A strange thought admittedly, but you could never tell. Murders were happening left and right all over the place it felt; the culprit could even be here mingling around them unnoticed. Now, there was a realization. Cyneric almost unsettled himself completely with that thought aloneโ€ฆ maybe he should stop thinking altogether and move himself. Put one foot in-front of the other and walk. Make himself less idle and awkward and motionless.

Without really thinking he looked to the sky and eyed any cloud that lazily pulled itself along overhead. Quickly as well, he inhaled and filled his lungs till the point of bursting; taking in an almost painful breath. He needed it, everyone did. โ€Maybe I should head back, get a start on my homework?โ€ Was that a silly thing to say, let alone want? Thankfully his voice was sheepish and almost whisper-like, his thoughts getting away with him. โ€Thereโ€™s not much I can do here anyway.โ€


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nakano Yuka Character Portrait: Mira Saromi Character Portrait: Alastair Payne Character Portrait: Arata Utagawa Character Portrait: Sachiko Yano Character Portrait: Gensai Riku Character Portrait: Ikeda Miu Character Portrait: Tanabata Emi Character Portrait: Naoko Ita Character Portrait: Maeda Katsuo Character Portrait: Shizuka Hibiki Character Portrait: Nao Morizakawa Character Portrait: Ketsuraku Kazuki Character Portrait: Cyneric Ozu Character Portrait: Sora Arakida Character Portrait: Daisuke O'Connor Character Portrait: Hirai Nakazo Character Portrait: Kita Tooru
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ใ€ŒAlastair Payneใ€
Dialogue; b49b04
Thought; 6f1313
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Papers lay all around him in a mess, his head was in his hands and he had a cigarette butt in his mouth. Thick smoke filled the room like a fog as many other scattered cigarette butts lay on his desk. He had stayed the night in his office, the top floor of Mihashira Tower, he had some work he had to complete however it had taken longer than usual and he had sent everyone else home leaving him alone with mountains of paperwork and books to balance before he could go home. Though he was argueably one of the wealthiest men in the city, he lived in a run down apartment building on the south side of town, however no one knew it was him living there, he used a different name for it and even rents a more expensive penthouse in his true name so it throws off even the hackers of <JUNGLE>. He did this on purpose for his own privacy, he really doesn't like the idea of anyone being able to find his house.

Sadly his modest home had remained empty the previous evening. As his work was more pressing, if he didn't get it done plenty of big-deal businesses would be on his back, ready to strike him down. His eyes snapped open, rimmed with red around his golden iris, dark bags clung underneath them as he groaned.
"Fuck me. . ." He grumbled rubbing his neck and slowly straightening up with several complaints from his back. He slowly stood, some papers sliding off his desk as he cursed and bent down to pick them up. I'll have Mira clean it up later. . . He thought as he dropped the papers back down. His eyes then snapped to the clock and he frowned. He was going to be late to the damned funeral! He let out a stream of angered profanity as he slid his shoes and vest on, buttoning his shirt as he sprinted down the stairwell.

He tripped over the last step and gasped slightly before scowling at it and swearing vengeance before running out. His chauffeur offered a ride but he was already far down the street lighting up a cigarette as he went. His chauffeur shook his head in awe of his hard-headed boss, but was relieved he didn't have to drive him when he was in this mood.

โ–ฌโ–ฌโ–ฌโ–ฌโ–ฌ

He arrived at the funeral as most people were filtering out. He folded his arms and leaned against a wall smoking, trying to conceal his labored breaths for running all the way over here. A few patrons waved to him or bowed their heads as they left and he returned the favor. He had meant to make it on time to this, he really had but the day had gotten away from him and so he had missed the proceedings. Him and the prior Gray King had been rather close, he closed his eyes under his shades and silently asked for forgiveness for missing the funeral.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nakano Yuka Character Portrait: Mira Saromi Character Portrait: Alastair Payne Character Portrait: Arata Utagawa Character Portrait: Sachiko Yano Character Portrait: Gensai Riku Character Portrait: Ikeda Miu Character Portrait: Tanabata Emi Character Portrait: Naoko Ita Character Portrait: Maeda Katsuo Character Portrait: Shizuka Hibiki Character Portrait: Nao Morizakawa Character Portrait: Ketsuraku Kazuki Character Portrait: Cyneric Ozu Character Portrait: Sora Arakida Character Portrait: Daisuke O'Connor Character Portrait: Hirai Nakazo Character Portrait: Kita Tooru
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ใ€ŒNaoko Itaใ€
Dialogue; 374D82
Thought; 5C92BF
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Morning filtered into her small house, however Naoko was already up and at it, she was in the small kitchen making breakfast for her father before she was going head out to the funeral. She hummed softly to herself, a happy tune that helped her start her day. The warm tones of her house seemed a bit grayer to her today, funerals were always such a sad time, even though she didn't know the woman who died all that well, it was still a big loss. She sighed softly and then smiled again, being positive is key, she told herself as she carried the scrambled eggs, bacon and hashbrowns to her father who was sitting in the chair he always occupied. A shell of the lively man he once was, his head lolled to the side a bit, it broke Naoko's heart but she still loved him no matter how bad it got she'd never abandon her father.

"Here you go daddy," she chimed as she handed him the tray, he wasn't completed inept, he just wasn't himself. He took the tray with a far off stare and she kissed his cheek softly. He grunted softly and began eating, his eyes not blinking. She sighed a bit and turned away to go change out of her pajamas into more suitable clothing for the event she was to attend. She got dressed in simple clothes and headed back out toward the door, she went over to her father and hugged him tight. "I'm heading out, please try to rest up while I'm gone. I have my phone and I will check in okay?" nothing in response. Her smile turned into a soft look of concern as she headed out, getting into her car and heading down to the funeral. The King of her organization was there so she figured she was obligated to be there as well. She hoped everyone there was doing okay, she'd have to be there for those who were hurting.

โ–ฌโ–ฌโ–ฌโ–ฌโ–ฌ

She arrived and sat through the funeral in the back, even tearing up a bit at some of the testimonies. She watched reverently and then as people began filtering out, she sniffled a bit and dabbed at her eyes. She rose slightly and went out, she spotted miss Ikeda and two people smoking together. She glanced around and spotted Mr. Payne off on his own, strange he hadn't been in the service? She supposed it wasn't any of her business. She wanted to find Miss Emi. She scanned the crowd and sighed softly not seeing her right away. So, she went over to a woman who was taking it rather hard and began to console her.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nakano Yuka Character Portrait: Mira Saromi Character Portrait: Alastair Payne Character Portrait: Arata Utagawa Character Portrait: Sachiko Yano Character Portrait: Gensai Riku Character Portrait: Ikeda Miu Character Portrait: Tanabata Emi Character Portrait: Naoko Ita Character Portrait: Maeda Katsuo Character Portrait: Shizuka Hibiki Character Portrait: Nao Morizakawa Character Portrait: Ketsuraku Kazuki Character Portrait: Cyneric Ozu Character Portrait: Sora Arakida Character Portrait: Daisuke O'Connor Character Portrait: Hirai Nakazo Character Portrait: Kita Tooru
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#, as written by cl.love


DAISUKE O'CONNOR



โœ˜ โœ˜ โœ˜ I wonder if "existing" is something you can laugh about... Image


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XXXXXi Theme: Crawl by Veltpunch
X Dialogue : #EE1D24 | Thought : #959595
XXX FC: Aizawa Kouichi | Nabari no O
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Daisuke hadn't planned on attending the funeral. He knew he would be out of place - after all, he'd only met the Grey King once, and he'd been only ten at the time, having tagged along with his grandfather. It was true that his place as a member of the Monochrome Alliance would obligate him to attend, but he had only been a member for a week, and he still hardly new Ikeda at all. XX
In the end, his parents had convinced him that attending the funeral was the professional thing to do, as the Colorless King it was acceptable to attend the funeral of a fellow King, despite the state of their relationship. Daisuke agreed to attend if his parents would also attend - after all, funerals weren't the most enjoyable place to be, and he wanted an excuse to leave if he needed one. XX
As soon as he got there, Daisuke immediately felt bad for having considered staying home. While it was true that he hadn't known Ikeda for long - not in person, at least - he couldn't help but understand her grief. His own King and grandfather had died four years prior, and he'd found himself in a situation akin to Ikeda's. Suddenly becoming a clan's King was nothing if not stressful. XXX
Daisuke left his parents to find a seat and approached Ikeda, bowing politely and carefully avoiding eye contact with her brother, who looked as if he would kill him if he said anything unfavorable. "Ikeda-san, I'm very sorry for your loss. You may not believe me, but I can promise you that the pain of loss does lessen, given time." Quietly excusing himself, Daisuke returned to his seat. XXXXX
The ceremony itself was respectable, but Daisuke found himself focusing on other thoughts, most concerning the recent murders. How dire is the situation? We've already had more than five murders. I doubt this would be as large of a concern if a King hadn't been one of the victims. And who even has the confidence to murder a King, especially without leaving a trace of evidence? XX
After becoming a King, Daisuke had instantaneously pulled his clan out of everything to do with the other clans. His parents were the only other members of the Colorless Clan, and at the time the O'Connor family couldn't really have cared less about the rivalry between clans. They became invisible, really, and Daisuke had even found internet theories stating that the his clan didn't exist. XX
But with the death of the Grey King, everything was suddenly so much more complicated. Daisuke's parents had convinced him to join the Monochrome Alliance in order to help keep the other clans from slaughtering each other with blame over the murders. And thus, here he was, at the Grey King's funeral. XX
Once the ceremony was over, Daisuke's parents went to talk to Ikeda, most likely to give her their best wishes and say comforting words that wouldn't do any good. Of course, Daisuke was guilty of the same thing, with what he'd said to her earlier. I suppose I really am their son. Sighing lightly, Daisuke pushed his glasses higher up on his nose and weaved through the crowds of attendees. XX
He was none too pleased to find Alastair standing outside the venue, smoking a cigarette and looking like he'd only just woken up. Daisuke's face scrunched up in distaste at the smell of tobacco, and he frowned at the Gold King, his hand gesturing toward the 'No Smoking' sign posted half a meter away. "This venue is a 'No Smoking' area. You'd think a King would have more respect." XXX

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alastair Payne Character Portrait: Ikeda Miu Character Portrait: Tanabata Emi Character Portrait: Naoko Ita Character Portrait: Maeda Katsuo Character Portrait: Cyneric Ozu
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#, as written by Elision
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ใ€ŒTanabata.Emiใ€
Dialogue โ™› #6495ED
Thoughts โ™› #FF7F50





As always, the Idol beat the sun in their eternal race to be the first to rise. Having stayed up all night chatting with one of her close friends on tour in America, it was a mystery as to how the girl managed to still be full of energy after barely sleeping a wink.

The gym on the lowest floor of her condo building was pretty well deserted at this hour. Donning baggy black clothes with hair pulled back in a hurried bun, Emi was not exactly in the pristine condition she's normally seen in. Starting the cycle through her normal workout routine. Soon enough, she was drenched in sweat and standing underneath the stream of water coming out of her shower head.

By now her schedule had been refined to the minute. 4:45am, Wake up. 5:00, workout for half an hour. 5:35, shower. 5:40, get ready. By 6:30 she would be out the door and on the way to wherever she had to be that day. Order was everything to her. Without her schedule, she honestly wasn't sure if she'd be able to function. Or at the least she wouldn't half as content as she always is.

Today varied a little, however. Covering up her school uniform with a black dress that fell just above her knees and her face concealed by a large black sunhat, she drifted along on her way to the funeral without any of the usual attention. It had been a long time since she had attended one. Four years had passed since her father had been laid to rest, luckily she hadn't been struck by tragedy again since. The former King had been a close friend of her father's. The duo having gone through grade school together, had worked hard to make the lives of Tokyo's citizens as safe and happy as possible. She had admired the man in his efforts, but disagreed with some of the man's methods.

Feeling some mix of guilt as the leader of Scepter Four for not being able to save him, and sympathy for the older girl she had spent so much time with in their younger days. Emi had teamed up with the elder brother as Miu's unofficial support team, carrying pockets full of tissues and questioning on her as to whether or not she had eaten yet. Quite honestly she didn't want to attend the ceremony, the things felt like more of a money grab taking advantage of people during their weakest moments, than any sort of sacred thing.

Leaving the building, Emi's shift as Miu's watcher came to an end. Not wanting to miss too much class, she planned to catch the next train to the school island so that she would be there in time for her second class. Her intent had been to seek out her clansmen who were also in attendance during the brief time she had before she would miss her train, this plan was derailed, however, by her self imposed duty. She stopped her search rather abruptly upon the sight of a semi familiar face.


"Ozu-San, right? I hope you weren't planning on skipping class." Truancy issues didn't go well with Scepter 4, and she wasn't about to let a known skipper pass her by. Doing her best to make herself seem as intimidating as possible. "The next train comes in fifteen minutes. You wouldn't want to miss it."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mira Saromi Character Portrait: Alastair Payne Character Portrait: Ikeda Miu Character Portrait: Tanabata Emi Character Portrait: Naoko Ita Character Portrait: Maeda Katsuo Character Portrait: Cyneric Ozu Character Portrait: Daisuke O'Connor
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#, as written by Kapento
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Dialogue โ”† #999900 | Thought โ”† #666600


She wouldnโ€™t have said she was close to the dead man. Mira honestly had no reason to be at the ceremony, but she wasnโ€™t there for herself, but instead her King and fellow clansmen. Alastair would be arriving shortly, if not quite soon. He mustโ€™ve been working late again silly man.โ€™ she thought, lightly stroking one of her twisted ponytails. Just then there was a small crowd gathering as everyone left the area and began to head for the burial, and as her eyes trailed after a few, she quickly noticed the late arrival of her King at that moment. Although she didnโ€™t approach him right away, casually noticing another man addressing him, but whatever he said escaped her due to the distance between them. โ€Hm, quite a crowd turned up here it seems,โ€ she told only herself, โ€that dead guy mustโ€™ve had quite a social group.โ€ Was she honestly getting jealous of a corpse? No way!โ€™

There was a wave of familiar and not-so-familiar faces passing her. Evidently other clans had come to pay their respects, and Mira hadnโ€™t overlooked the tearful girl who was being supported by her own fellow clansmen. Well, it was to be expected? The blonde girl furrowed her eyebrows only slightly in thought, before continuing on her way and weaving through the people that scattered over the area. โ€Excuse me, yes thank-you,โ€ the girl muttered, shooing whoever was near her to move out the way. โ€Move along, uh-huh. Yes, you. Thank-you! Keep going. Ta-ta!โ€ She could have sworn sheโ€™d stuck her heel into someoneโ€™s foot at least once, but oh well. Quickly hurrying along the girl gave a prompt salute to her King and grinned satisfyingly at him, if he noticed, before swooping over and barging in on a familiar duo.

โ€Oh lay off him, would you?โ€ Mira said suddenly, squeezing through the pair that consisted of Cyneric and Emi. It was quite a squeeze indeed. โ€Itโ€™s a funeral for crying out loud, canโ€™t we just be sad and deal with it?โ€ Yeah, because Mira was totally sad for the deceased. It was a wonder if she even knew his name, you know, beyond 'corpse' and 'stiff' and 'dead guy'. โ€But whatever. Are you two going? Well, I guess someoneโ€™s gotta run this show when you go and Iโ€™m sure my King needs me at a terrible time like this.โ€ she said, setting both hands to her hips and seeming as confident as ever towards the pair. โ€This thing is just getting started!โ€


Setting

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Character Portrait: Maeda Katsuo Character Portrait: Shizuka Hibiki
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#, as written by Elision
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ใ€ŒMaeda.Katsuoใ€
Dialogue โœฎ #A60A00
Thoughts โœฎ #D65E0D





It seemed that the ancient Gods of smoking had not picked today to smile upon Katsuo. His smoking partner, seemingly a weird one to say the least, had taken a slightly more complex route than the standard "Hello" that would have sufficed to end the conversations.

Turning his head to take in the young man next to him, his suspicions were pretty well confirmed. The man had made some sort of fast movement to attract his attention. What that exact movement that was was mystery to him, seeing only a blur of green hair and clothes.


"Thank you." The statement was flat, yet sincere. He had heard the words echoed hundreds of times in the weeks prior. Not for himself, but for his not so little sister. The stranger seemed to be more nervous than caring, but honestly most people were anyways. Some were just better at concealing it.

"You know, if you can't even light your cigarette, you probably shouldn't be having one anyways." His father had told him the same exact words before. Well, within some stupid joke of course, but the advice wasn't any less sound. In his opinion, at least. Still, against his better judgement he had snatched out another one of his own cigarettes and lit it. Extending his arm to present it to his conversation partner. After all, who was he to judge.

"Look, Kid. Are you alright?" Cursing himself for not simply ignoring the stranger, it was nobody's fault but his own as his concern for them began to build. Nobody acts that weird under normal circumstances, or at least nobody he's ever met.

Initially, he was concerned they might be in trouble with the law or worse. Having people on your tail was probably the best reason out there to be nervous. Then it dawned on him. This was a funeral home. It was more than likely that they were there for a similar reason as he was. Adopting a smoother, sweeter tone reminiscent of the one he had been using as long as he could remember to coax Miu into telling him what was the matter as a child.
"Have you lost someone too?"

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Character Portrait: Maeda Katsuo Character Portrait: Shizuka Hibiki
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Hibiki stared at the hand of a stranger that was offering her something. She didn't know whether the man was fed up with her or being friendly or anything though she didn't think that mattered, all she needed to be able to tell was if he was suspicious but she couldn't even pick up on that - but that didn't mean she trusted that he wasn't. She had such a hard time determining how people were thinking, it was easier to assume a worst case scenario and act accordingly. She reached out and gripped the cigarette delicately, finding it difficult but possible to take it without touching his fingers. She murmured a sound that sounded vaguely like a thank you that didn't quite make it and brought the smoke to her dry lips.

Same brand as mine, she observed. She had mimicked Naomi by purchasing the exact same brand she had seen her using, too. Obviously must be popular with people with this habit. Unless he's just a cheapskate, like her.

She breathed out smoke and for the first time she saw how people could relax from these evil things. All she had to do now was excuse herself, then she would be free.

"Look, Kid. Are you alright?"

The suddenness of the questions when she thought she was in the clear caused her to choke and fall into a coughing fit. The man sounded softer now, much like the way Ryuu talked down to her when she was too tired to sleep, but that sweetness couldn't have come from this intimidating giant. It had to be a trick of her mind, she missed hi - no, she didn't miss him. She missed his knowledge but nothing more. She glanced at Katsuo slightly as she began searching her brain for any response that she might have planned out previously in her notebook, but she couldn't remember, obviously meaning that she didn't have one. Come on Hibiki, this had never been so hard before, had it? She had lost someone, all she had to do was tell the truth - no, no, it hurt her throat, she couldn't. She just had to respond (just talk, it didn't have to be true), which could lead to another intruding question, then excuse herself from this minefield once the conversation ended which was hopefully before anyone else arrived to the secluded smoking area. Either that or she take the chance now and get rid of him, somehow. But there was too little time to analyse the pros and cons of each escape route; she could still hear the sobs and chatter of people pouring out the front of the funeral home that filtered into hearing when Katsuo first apparated beside her. Oh. Oh no. She shouldn't have thought about that. Now she couldn't stop listening to them. It was overwhelming, how they were continuing to constantly flow out and stain the streets. She could see their warm, fat bodies mingling through the walls and clasp at each other for solace, unborn children in a throbbing, artificial womb. It was only a matter of time before their numbers spread and trickled towards her like blood from an open wound.

Hibiki had to leave now before she was sick.

She curled over and simply hid her face behind her hands. The threat beside her didn't need to know she was trying not to throw up. All he needed to know was it was a funeral and funerals were supposed to be sad, and when people were made sad people cried, and when people cried they wanted to be left alone.

She nodded.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Maeda Katsuo Character Portrait: Shizuka Hibiki
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#, as written by Elision
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ใ€ŒMaeda.Katsuoใ€
Dialogue โœฎ #A60A00
Thoughts โœฎ #D65E0D





It would seem the Gold clansmen had struck a cord with the boy. A string of coughs exited their mouth. Maybe she was sick? Or maybe he had been wrong to give them the cigarette? No, it was more likely that he had hit on a sore topic.

The character glanced up at him for a moment, still not responding to his question. Honestly, he was beginning to wonder whether or not this person had engaged in conversation with another person before. It seemed like that they had no clue how to act, or maybe it was just Katsuo's mastery in the category that made that seem like the case.

Having finally settled in a position with his hands covering his face, Katsuo was confident that they were trying to hide their tears. They probably didn't want him to them crying, not even lowering his mask to give a silent nod in return. He couldn't help but take pity on them, something was obviously weighing on them, and it seemed like that thing involved the loss of someone close to them.

Against his better judgement that was suggesting that the subject of his sympathy was likely just a con artist of some sorts, Katsuo gently placed a hand on the boy's shoulder. Moments later he sucked them into a full blown hug. As he lingered in it for a moment, he hoped it didn't seem weird or like he was trying to molest them or anything. This could very easily end in a call to the police, if the stranger was the type to do that kind of thing, and he would have no defense.

Eventually, he released the boy. Remembering what he was there for and the sister he had left back at the funeral home door.
"I'm sorry. I really can't stay around much longer, my sister is waiting for me. If you don't have anywhere to go you can come with us, I wouldn't want to leave you alone while you're upset."

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Character Portrait: Maeda Katsuo Character Portrait: Shizuka Hibiki
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No.

No.

What is this supposed to be?

This is the exact opposite of what I thought would happen!

Is this some joke? Do I really not understand people this much?

He's supposed to be a gruff, something or other, person that doesn't do things like this!

SO WHY IS HE TOUCHING ME?


Hibiki was stuck. Her eyes, hidden by her hands, needed moisture yet her blinking was to no effect and her lungs, while inflating and deflating all the same, seemed to be failing at the only job they were tasked with. The vomit that had threatened escape just before seemed to be trapped in her throat, hot and eating its way into her with acids. There was something on her shoulder that was inhibiting every bodily function that could assist in this situation. The only thing that this inhibitor had increased the effects of was her heartbeat, which had sped up to such high levels that she felt that if she stood she'd die from dizziness.

All she needed to do was say, "Don't." ... but things never were that simple for her, were they?

Her hands left her burning face and one slowly dipped down and twitched above the pocket that held her spare change. This isn't an act of prostitution, she stopped herself with a sudden logical thought, If I pay him to leave me, that would be suspicious - or in a situation like this, would the money be an invitation for prostitution? Paying for acts of intimacy - but I want to pay him to leave me - but he'll obviously get the wrong idea - would he be disgusted or would he try to - what has prostitution have to do with a hand on my shoulder? Obviously, I'm taking this to the extreme and should -

WHHHSOHFIOHFOIFOISNFLSNVIOSVNLKHVSIODHGFNSVVNLK


Two arms were encasing her like a spider spinning its next meal into a neat package. And it wasn't just arms - no, it was more than that. He had to lean to follow through with this action, his lengthy body curling over, a structure about to flatten her. She became all too aware that the side of her head was touching his chest and there was a crackling static in the air that surrounded her and caused her hairs to raise. He was zapped by this energy a dozen times but was apparently not bothered by the static and Hibiki was too timid for her powers to respond to this with something greater, and besides, anything bigger than static couldn't be written off as normal. She couldn't let him know of her allegiance - wait, would that make him leave her? This was lasting too long, now. Long enough for Hibiki's thoughts to slow down and become comprehensible.

Can he hear my heart beating? she stressed, Or can he feel how hot my skin is? It had become very, very uncomfortable within her cocoon of many layers. His heart is beating at a normal pace. So this was a normal thing? Was she reacting too out of the ordinary? Could he tell? And his hands are cool. So this was completely normal? But - not for this man, not Maeda Katsuo of Timeless Palace! The only person she knew who experienced this action from him was his sister! Please do not hear me. I can hear everything in you. His heartbeat, his breathing, the slight sounds of his insides all working together to digest, convert, filter, live...

I'm not scared, she squeezed her eyes shut and lied, I'm not scared, I'm not scared, I'm not...

"Mm-hg!" a muffled sound escaped her tightened lips and she jolted suddenly, her bags sliding from her lap and spilling onto the ground. Panic at exposing her panic seized her and

And it was over.

She lifted her head up suddenly, a desperate joy filling her chest. She could hear him saying something but she was too elated by freedom and beyond listening. She immediately dropped to the ground, getting some much needed distance between her and the man and starting to pick up everything that had fallen - some groceries, deodorant, a cat-head lolly dispenser for someone who was not her, tampons (thank goodness she had collected those before this man had seen them, how embarrassing) and - Rose Gold volume 4? Where was it?

She looked up to see the cover, two shirtless princes entangled in roses and bedsheets, in the man's hands. She stared. Then everything went red. She was sweating profusely from the events before and now it was evaporating from the sheer heat of her body temperature.

"...don't have anywhere to go you can come with us, I wouldn't want to leave you alone while you're upset."

THAT'S THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF WHAT I WANT! She internally lamented as she face planted onto the ground. She really didn't read him correctly at all, did she?

Wait. She thought, still on the ground in this manner, This is a way out of here. Would leaving with a Gold clansman draw too much attention? If we go quietly, it's a fast way out. No, his appearance attracts attention. No, he's acting too suspiciously. No, I'm the one acting suspiciously. I just want to leave. Are there any people where he's going? She couldn't ask him that, that was too paranoid thus too suspicious. So, he doesn't want to leave me. A simple choice, decline or leave with the member of an enemy clan. How much to I want to go? Stop. Enough to make me sick. Of course she was going to decline, she could make it through the city and the people herself... she could force her way through that thriving hoard of humanity... Does he have a car?

Change of plans. She picked herself off the ground.

"You... *grunt* ... You have a car?" She scratched the back of her neck and tried to avoid his scary red gaze. "Th-Then, I'm, I'm, going. Yeah, I'm coming." The manga! "Ahhh..." Does she take it from him? He'd been holding it! "K-K-Keep it! Yeah, do that. I don't, uh, it's for, someone. My, uh, Yoko. Yeah, Yoko. Er... yours, now, she can't... read, she's a ham..." Don't tell him that she's a hamster. "... so, um. Plot is really sweet, so... if you want to, ergh, have a summary, um..." her babbling trailed off, her eyes glazing over and growing more dead the longer she continued. She caught herself and clenched her fists with determination, bowing her head and declaring in a disjointed, robotic tone, "Yes. I am sad and I want to... go with you."

Why did it feel so much more embarrassing to say that compared to everything else?